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Home » News » Shakespeare meets 1920’s glam in FSU’s Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare meets 1920’s glam in FSU’s Much Ado About Nothing

Published March 21, 2013

Tallahassee, FL – The School of Theatre at Florida State, known for its nationally reputable program, encourages the creation of art, defies standards and makes bold moves to produce caliber productions. With the upcoming presentation of William Shakespeare’s comedic classic Much Ado About Nothing, director Walter Kmiec embraces the spirit of experimentation and sets the production in Southern Florida during the glamorous 1920’s. This show will run from March 29 – April 7 in the Lab Theatre, located by the Pensacola Street parking garage.

much ado about nothing

Benedick (Chris Martin) and Beatrice (Denee Lortz)

As one of Shakespeare’s earlier works, Much Ado About Nothing falls right before arguably his most successful plays – following this piece of work he composed the beautifully potent tragedies Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello; thus, Much Ado embodies a turbulent mix of feelings that emotionally charge this production.

Typically set on the island of Sicily, Kmiec’s unique spin on Much Ado sets itself up in a lush, Southern Florida estate for the glamorous vision of the rough approximation of the 1920’s – paparazzi, fame, stardom and allure. The encapsulation of the decade lends a major role into the world of this play.

“Looking at the 20’s and the press, it’s really the beginning of our celebrity culture,” director of Much Ado About Nothing Walter Kmiec explained. “For the first time you had people all across the country looking at and hearing the same person – movie stars, radio stars and musicians; with the birth of this celebrity culture, you also get the beginning of this sensationalized drama.” 

With that dramatization, the importance of reputation and social rank is imminent; thus, the 1920’s status-obsessive culture inspired Kmiec’s vision for this particular production.

“To me that is the world of Much Ado, everyone in the play is so concerned with how they look in relation to everyone else,” Kmiec remarked. “Everyone is the best version of themselves until it all comes crashing down on them.”

The plot of Much Ado centers around two sets of lovers. Benedick (Chris Martin) and Beatrice (Denee Lortz) are tricked into confessing their love for each other; all the while Claudio (Casey Leach) is tricked into rejecting Hero (Sarah Jo Provost) at the altar. These unsuspecting lovers are lead to questioned intentions and illuminated desires.

much ado about nothing

Benedick (Chris Martin) and Beatrice (Denee Lortz)

“I think what the 20’s do for the plot and for the gender relationships in this play is that they strike a really, really nice hybrid,” Much Ado dramaturg Sean Bartley said. “This will have a feeling that’s more contemporary than of a straight 15th century production of the play, but at the same time gender roles are very different in the 1920’s – I think that this will help us reinforce the importance of the couples plot in which we analyze it.”

To those who may shy away from Shakespeare due to the density of the language and content, fear not – for this production will be relatable to audiences on numerous levels.

“I think this is a visual world in which our audience generally knows and understands,” Bartley expressed. “I think this is going to be a beautifully spoken, really clear and fundamentally accessible production.” 

Much Ado presents the opportunity for the community to experience a world of Shakespeare that will take them on an emotional rollercoaster; and that is precisely what Kmiec is aiming for.

“I would love for the audience to come away being hugely entertained saying ‘oh my gosh I enjoyed myself very much,’ but also to think ‘there were moments where I  was totally on the edge of my seat worrying about what was going to happen,’” Kmiec remarked. “I think if I get that then I accomplished what I see in the play.”

Join the director, designers, and dramaturg in a talk back session directly after performance on the Thursday, April 4.


Show Times

March 29 – 30, 2013 at 8:00 PM 
March 31, 2013 at 2:00 PM 
April 3 – 6, 2013 at 8:00 PM 
April 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM


Purchase Tickets
  • Order Single Tickets Online.
  • Order Single Tickets by Phone:
    (850) 644-6500 Tue.-Sat. 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Order Single Tickets in Person:
    FSU Fine Arts Building
    540 West Call Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32306

    (Building located on the corner of Call and Copeland Street.)
    Regular Business Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Single Ticket Pricing

Adult Ticket:  $20.00 
Senior Ticket (Age 62+):  $18.00 
Student Ticket:  $10.00

For additional media or information contact: David J. Valdez – (813) 624-3034 or


Written by Contributing Writer: Ariel Backer
Photos from “Much Ado About Nothing”. Chris Martin and Denee Lortz. Photo by David J. Valdez.