Max Conaway (Borachio / Friar) is a stage and film actor who hails from Brooklyn, NY by way of Pittsburgh, PA. Graduating in May of 2020 from UAlbany, he is no stranger to the capital region. Having his formidable Shakespeare experience at SSC in 2019, he is proud to be a part of live theatre in Saratoga again. Look out for Max with his sketch comedy and dramatic theatre roles on his website, maxconaway.com. He hopes you enjoy drinking, being merry and watching classical theatre here in Congress Park.
Tim Dugan (Benedick / 2nd Watch) is thrilled to return to SSC for his 12th season. He previously served as Associate Artistic Director/Director of Education. Some favorite SSC acting credits: Midsummer (Bottom), Macbeth (Macbeth) and Merry Wives (Ford). Other favorite credits: Steal Her Bones, Straight White Men-InterAct Theatre, The Other Place-Walnut Street Theater, Long Live the Little Knife-Inis Nua Theatre, Doubt, Song For My Father, Tuesdays With Morrie-Oldcastle Theatre. Tim is an Assistant Professor of Theater at Bates College (Acting & Directing). MFA-Temple University. For BZ. Proud member AEA. www.tim-dugan.net.
Jonathan Gonzalez (Claudio / Sexton) is thrilled to be making his Saratoga Shakespeare debut. He was last seen playing Gary in This Random World at Central Connecticut State University. He’s worked as choreographer for Sara DeLappes “The Wolves” as well as lighting designer for “Contractions”. Thanks to Welsey Broulik, Christie Maturo, Kristen Palmer, and Matthew Durland.
Angela Ledtke (Balthasar / Vocal Captain) is an actor, director, educator, entrepreneur, and mother of Olivia (14) and Sophia (11). She has taught theatre courses for the past 21 years at the University at Albany, the College of Saint Rose, and Siena. She owns Artique Co-op, a cooperative, multi-vendor gift store in Clifton Park and Crossgates Mall, where she collaborates with talented artists and local business owners. She is thrilled to be making her Saratoga Shakespeare debut with this amazing cast! angelaledtke.com
Laura Menzie (Beatrice / Conrade) is pumped to be making her Saratoga Shakespeare debut. Recent credits include Doll's House Part 2 and Doubt at the Franklin Stage Company. She has also worked extensively with NYC's Titan Theatre Company and most recently in the titular role of Tartuffe in their all female production. She received her MFA from the University of Houston where she also performed at the Houston Shakespeare Festival and Stages Rep. lauramenzie.com
Michael Pemberton (Don John / Dogberry) BROADWAY: The Farnsworth Invention, I’m Not Rappaport, Not About Nightingales, Mamma Mia, Hedda Gabler OFF BROADWAY: Sundown/Yellow Moon, Dinner With Friends, Saturday Night, Black Snow, REGIONAL THEATER: The Alley Theatre, The Old Globe Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare, Geva Theater, The Wilma Theater, FILM: Paint, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn's Finest, The Family Stone TELEVISION: The Equalizer, The Blacklist, New Amsterdam, Madame Secretary, The Punisher, The Affair, The Good Wife, Veep, Blue Bloods, Sleepy Hollow, Law & Order.
Dennis Schebetta (Don Pedro / George Seacoal) is excited to return to Saratoga Shakespeare Company after playing Stephano in The Tempest. He is an actor, director, and writer with credits off-off Broadway and regionally at theatres such as Ensemble Studio Theater, 29th Street Rep, Vital Theater, Capital Rep, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Northeast Theatre Ensemble, and City Theatre. He is Assistant Professor at Skidmore College and co-author of Building a Performance: An Actor’s Guide to Rehearsal (with John Basil). www.dennisschebetta.com
Leigh Strimbeck (Leonata) Recent credits include: Alice in Lewiston Bridge Street Theatre; Virginia Butley in Native Gardens Gloucester Stage Company; Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit Voice Theatre of Woodstock and Tippy in Breakwater at Great Barrington Public Theater. Other regional theater acting and directing includes Storyhorse Documentary Theater; The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE); WAM; The Rep in Albany, NY; Saratoga Shakespeare; Shakespeare and Co (Understudy for Tina Packer, Mother of the Maid); and Berkshire Playwrights Lab. Feature films: UnCivil Liberties, Fighting for Freedom, Little BiPeep, the short Key Transitions, and Lifetime Movie Network’s Off the Rails and Sleeping with My Student. Writer and actor: The Queen of Fenway Court (the life of Isabella Stewart Gardner). For reel and more info: leighstrimbeck.com
Bianca Stinney (Margaret / 1st Watch) was born and raised in Albany, NY and is a proud native of the Arbor Hill community. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University where she received her Bachelor's degree in Theater and Elementary Education. She later received her Masters degree in Literacy and Special Education from the University at Albany. Bianca is currently teaching 1st grade in the Capital Region. She is thrilled about returning to the stage.
Aly Tu (Hero / Verges) is a recent summa cum laude graduate of Albright College. She trained at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in the National Theatre Institute program Fall 2021. This is her first professional gig! Recent credits include: The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Romeo and Juliet, The Importance of Being Earnest, C'mon America: Hindsight is 20/20 (Domino Players). She is very grateful for everyone involved in this!
Wesley Broulik (Director/Adapter) - Welsey's work as a performer, director, writer, and theatre maker has been seen on national network TV (L&O, Person of Interest, Six Degrees), Daytime TV (As the World Turns, Guiding Light), in films (including the Sundance award winning 3 Backyards), national network commercials, voice-overs, and in theatre spanning off-Boardway, major regional theatres (including Shakespeare Theatre DC), national tours, and internationally. This is his 8th production with SSC. He holds an MFA from Rutgers University and trained as a director with Shakespeare's Globe. Proud member AEA, SAG-AFTRA, Dramatists's Guild Inc., and SDC Associate Member. Proud father to Theo & Lilly.
Samantha Garwood (Costume Designer) is a costume designer and technician with her bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College (‘14) and her Master of Fine Arts from Boston University (‘18). Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has been living and working on the East Coast for the past several years working with theater companies including the Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Huntington Theatre Company, Home Made Theatre, Saratoga Shakespeare Company, and Capital Repertory Theater. Some of her favorite shows to design have been Le Nozze di Figaro, (Boston University Opera Institute in association with the Huntington Theatre Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Saratoga Shakespeare Company), and Cabaret (Skidmore College).
David Girard (Production Stage Manager) David is the Artistic Director of Troy Foundry Theatre, where he most recently directed Samuel Beckett’s Not I and devised and curated Where There’s Smoke: Ilium Burns, a world premiere immersive piece of site-specific theatre. David, no stranger to Saratoga Shakespeare Company, is also a former Associate Artistic Director, has appeared in several productions - most recently as The Fool in 2019’s King Lear - and directed their critically acclaimed productions of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and Henry IV (his adaptation of Henry IV Parts I and II), respectively. David is a proud member of AEA and a proud Trojan. He is currently at work with his Troy Foundry team on a new musical to premiere in the Fall of 2022. www.troyfoundrytheatre.com.
10 Things About This Play You May Not Know
- Much Ado About Nothing was first published in 1600 as a single play or quarto. It next appeared in the 1623 First Folio, seven years after Shakespeare died.
- The play has about 2800 lines; as a comparison, Hamlet has about 4100 lines and Comedy of Errors has less than 1800 lines.
- The most frequently used words in the play are man (13), love (90), come (74), lady (63), and God (60).
- The first cinematic version of the play was a 1913 silent film.
- The first sound version was the 1993 film by Kenneth Branagh.
- The Branagh film was set and filmed at the Villa Vignamaggio, in the Chianti hills. The villa, farmhouses, and La Pensione Hotel are available for tourists.
- Set in rural Georgia, a 2019 Public Theater production with an all-Black cast was shown on Great Performances on PBS. The show was recorded at the Delacorte Theater in NY’s Central Park.
- The operas Béatrice et Bénédict (1862) by Hector Berlioz, and Much Ado About Nothing by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1901) are based upon the play.
- A 2015 film adaptation called “Messina High” set the play into a posh suburban high school where gossip and drama rule the day.
- There are two recent Young Adult novels based on the play: Speak Easy, Speak Love, by Mckelle George in which the events of the play take place in the 1920s, and Nothing Happened by Molly Booth where Claudio and Hero are a gay couple, Claudia and Hana.
Some Memorable Much Ado Lines
- “I wish my horse had the speed of your tongue.” 1.1
- “He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” 2.1
- “Here’s a dish I love not: I cannot endure my Lady Tongue.” 2.1
- “There was a star danced, and under that was I born.” 2.1
- “One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace.” 2.3
- “When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.” 2.3
- “Everyone can master a grief but he that has it.” 3.2
- “There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently.” 5.1
- “I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes.” 5.2
- “A college of wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour” 5.4
Playing Beatrice & Benedick
We often leave the theatre talking about those special relationships we have just seen and wonder who else might fit the role. In Much Ado, there is a memorable pair of archenemies who soon become lovers. Here are some names you might recognize who have played these roles:
- Diana Wynyard & Anthony Quayle — 1949
- Rachel Roberts & Rex Harrison — 1949
- Dorothy Tutin & John Gielgud — 1952
- Peggy Ashcroft & John Gielgud — 1955
- Eileen Herlie & Christopher Plummer — 1958
- Googie Withers & Michael Redgrave — 1958
- Geraldine McEwan & Christopher Plummer — 1961
- Janet Suzman & Alan Howard — 1968
- Elizabeth Spriggs & Derek Godfrey — 1971
- Kathleen Widdoes & Sam Waterston — 1973
- Judi Dench & Donald Sinden — 1976
- Charlotte Cornwell & Kenneth Colley — 1979
- Sinead Cusack & Derek Jacobi — 1982
- Cherie Lunghi & Robert Lindsay — 1984
- Fiona Shaw & Nigel Terry — 1986
- Blythe Danner & Kevin Kline — 1988
- Samantha Bond & Kenneth Branagh — 1988
- Susan Fleetwood & Roger Allam — 1990
- Emma Thompson & Kenneth Branagh — 1993
- Catherine Tate & David Tennant — 2011
- Amy Acker & Alexis Denisof — 2012
- Vanessa Redgrave & James Earl Jones — 2013
Source: The Shakespeare Book of Lists by Michael LoMonico
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