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‘Much Ado About Nothing’ to hit park in Sterling

Shakespearean comedy this year’s free al fresco play

STERLING – Who doesn’t love a good play about love and revenge and gossip and trickery? Who doesn’t love seeing it for free?

The epic comedy “Much Ado about Nothing” is this year’s Shakespeare in the Park offering from Sauk Valley Community College Theatre and Woodlawn Arts Academy.

Nearly 3 dozen community members, ranging in age from 15 to 70, and hailing from Sterling, Dixon, Rock Falls, Polo, Oregon and Ohio, make up the cast and crew of this third annual production, presented free of charge.

All six shows will begin at 7 p.m., June 19-21 and 26-28, at Hoover Park on the back lawn at the academy, 3807 Woodlawn Road.

The June 20 event comes with a bonus show: At 6 p.m., local youths will perform scenes from Shakespeare that they worked on in 2-week camps held at the academy, and at the Sterling/Rock Falls and Dixon YMCAs.

Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs and also may bring food and drinks, including adult beverages (which will be allowed in the park for this event only).

Rain dates are June 22 and June 29; check Sauk’s Facebook page or for rain cancellations.

About the production

"Much Ado About Nothing" is considered by many to be William Shakespeare's best comedy.

With the war over and peace established, Don Pedro and his navy set their sights on other pursuits. The dashing Claudio falls for the seemingly faithful Hero, and everyone teams up for the ultimate challenge: bringing together Beatrice and Benedick, two people who have vehemently sworn off love and who have hated each other for years.

All seems to be going according to plan until someone unleashes a plot of revenge. True love is tested and true villainy is discovered when the battles of war are replaced by a battle of wits.

Will all be put to rights in time for a double wedding? After all, it is just much ado about nothing.

Sauk theater director Anna Kurtz directs. Among the cast members are Glen Lewis as Don Pedro; Alex Rodriguez as Benedick, Mavrik McMeekan as Claudio; Tori Duffin as Beatrice; Hannah Matheney as Hero; Kraig Schweiss as Leonato and Donal Wolber as Innogen.

Other cast members are Sarah Baxter, Emily Johnson, Evan Lobdell, Carolyn Guido, Monique Elmendorf, James Schauff, Jose Manuel Cervantes, Zach Woessner, Ed Davis, Clarissa Worcester, Bradley Davis, Hunter Wolfe, Zach Arbogast, Ali Settles, and Annie Etchinson.

In addition to Kurtz, the production team is Zack Lawson, Chuck Price, Faith Morrison, Ashley Frye, Kaitlin Haley, Ian Wankerl, Mardi Hoffstetler, Dennis Scheckel, Susan Scheckel, Michael Farringer, and Alex Rodriguez.

Call Woodlawn, 815-626-4278, or Sauk’s theater department, 815-835-6366, for more information.

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