Much Ado About Nothing Sunday at Mineral Springs Park

See Stone Soup Shakespeare tour
Free Shakespeare

Stone Soup Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing
Sunday, May 31, 6:00 PM
Mineral Springs Park

Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing will be touring throughout the Midwest this spring, bringing Shakespeare in the Park to communities for free this May and early June and for the first time ever will be bringing the tour through Pekin, IL. The troupe will perform on Sunday, May 31 at Mineral Springs Park, next to the Pavilion on the Lagoon, at 6:00 PM in partnership with the Pekin Park District.  In case of rain, the performance will take place inside the Pavilion.

Tour director, Jeri Frederickson (Chicago) is setting this year’s performance in a punk world filled with rock ‘n’ roll, miscommunication and rash emotions. Jeri Frederickson joins Stone Soup Shakespeare from Chicago and brings with her expertise in Shakespeare, poetry and new play development. She is excited to bring Much Ado About Nothing claiming “it delights and tickles my funny bone while also showing me just how outrageous perfectly rational people can be.”

The play itself has been recently popularized by director Joss Whedon in a black and white contemporary film. There also exists a slightly older, but much revered, 1993 version featuring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson.  While Frederickson and company’s interpretation will be its own unique look at the story, the merriment and deception of the script that is so present in the film versions is just as present in Stone Soup Shakespeare’s outdoor production.

In keeping with the spirit of the children’s story, Stone Soup, from which the company takes its name, audience members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, which will be collected and donated, to The HOPE Chest.

Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing has been popularized multiple times in film (a much revered 1993 version featuring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson and a more recent black and white version directed by Joss Whedon). The story is the ultimate romantic comedy involving jealousy, deceit and ultimately love.

Don Pedro and Don John (siblings) have just finished fighting one another in a small war. Don Pedro, reconciled with her brother brings her troupes and Don John to Messina and the home of Leonato. There Count Claudio falls instantly in love with Leonato’s daughter Hero and they plan to get married. Benedick (another of Don Pedro’s men) is also in tow and revives a former battle of wits with Beatrice (Leonato’s niece). Don Pedro, Claudio, Hero and Leonato all decide to trick Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love. With antics and wedding plans on the brain all seems happy until Don John executes his revenge.

Don John tricks Claudio into thinking Hero is unfaithful to him and because of this Claudio cancels the wedding and exposes Hero’s presumed infidelity at the ceremony. Hero passes out, Leonato rages and Beatrice requests Benedick kill Claudio.  With all the “ado” Detective Dogberry, head of Leonato’s Watch, is left to uncover what really happened. Eventually the Watch capture Don John’s henchman, report the wrongdoing and, through a bit of trickery and veils, all couples come together with promises of vows and reaffirmations of love.

The cast includes: Laila Abdo (Don Pedro), Kim Curlee (Leonato), Emily Green (Hero/Dogberry)(Millikin ’06), Ken Miller (Benedick)(Millikin ’10), Ryan Negron (Claudio), Julia Stemper (Beatrice), Brittany Stock (Margaret/Priest) and Dan Wenzel, Jr. (Don John).

Jeffrey Golde and Julia Stemper founded Stone Soup Shakespeare in 2010.  Its mission is to bring free professional theater to areas without access to it.  Developed during Ms. Stemper’s time studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the company continues to present theater events in both the US and UK.  Stone Soup’s first tour was a production of Romeo and Juliet in 2011.  It was seen in 3 states during a one-week tour and included professional actors from England, Scotland, New York, Chicago and the Southern Illinois region who have appeared off-Broadway, Regionally and on National and International tours.  The subsequent tours have expanded the company’s reach and artistic partners, increased audience size and expanded its educational programs.

The 2015 tour is partially supported by the Carbondale Community Arts Southern Arts Fund and by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Much Ado About Nothing Tour Schedule

Friday, May 1, 6:00pm - Marion Carnegie Library (206 South Market Street, Marion, IL)
Sunday, May 3, 6:00pm - Cole Memorial Park; In partnership with Chester Public Library (Chester, IL)
Friday, May 8, 6:00pm - Scratch Brewery (Ava, IL)
Saturday, May 9, 6:00pm - Cape Girardeau Public Library (Cape Girardeau, MO)
Monday, May 11, 6:00pm - Harrisburg Library (Harrisburg, IL)
Tuesday, May 12, 6:00pm - McCracken County Public Library (555 Washington Street,Paducah, KY)
Thursday, May 14, 6:00pm - Nashville Memorial Park (Nashville, IL)
Friday, May 15, 6:30pm - Tower Grove Park Pool Pavilion (4256 Magnolia Avenue, St. Louis, MO)
Saturday, May 16, 3:00pm – The Renascence House (Makanda, IL – next to the Boardwalk)
Sunday, May 17, 6:00pm - Attucks Park (400-800 North Wall Street, Carbondale, IL)
Friday, May 29, 6:30pm - Tapawingo Park (Tapawingo Drive, West Lafayette, IN)
Saturday, May 30, 6:00pm - Twin Lakes Park; Presented by the Paris Public Library (Paris, IL)
Sunday, May 31, 6:00pm – Mineral Springs Park (Pekin, IL)
Friday, June 5, 6:00pm – Nelson Park (Decatur, IL)
Saturday, June 6, 6:00pm - Shorewood Public Library (Shorewood, WI)
Sunday, June 7, 6:00pm - Senior Citizen Park; Presented with Friends of Holstein Park (Chicago, IL)

Performances are free to the public. 
Performances are subject to change based on inclement weather. Performances may also be added. For the most up-to-date schedule please visit our website.


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