When 'Nothing' is something: Shakespeare company launches summer show
Just as spectators will be looking to have a good time at Shakespeare on the Sound's presentation of "Much Ado About Nothing," the cast will be coming to party, too.
"We've been doing a lot of research about that, as much as we can," actor Gregory Wooddell said jokingly, during a recent telephone interview.
Wooddell, who plays Benedick, is part of an 11-member cast who will be bringing this romantic comedy to life -- complete with a new soundtrack, plenty of dancing and a liberal nod to how modern-day couples grapple with the uncertainty of love.
The acting company will debut the work on Thursday, June 16, at Pinkney Park, where it will continue through June 26. It then takes to the road and travels several miles south, where it disembarks at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich for a July 5-10 run.
Wooddell, who is a classically trained Juilliard graduate, said he particularly enjoys working with Shakespeare on the Sound, in that the creative team, led by director Joanna Settle, ensures that nothing is rote.
"They take a fresh look (at the material) as if it were a new play," said Wooddell, who last worked with the group in 2009 for "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" was Settle's first production as artistic director of the organization, which is celebrating its 16th season this year.
Settle is once again working with her crew and fellow collaborators, including the musical team of Stew and Heidi Rodewald, to draw the audience ever deeper into the story.
Settle is planning a party in the park, so to speak, where love is found, then lost; cast away and reclaimed; and people stick around to see what happens next.
"This has been so much fun," she said of the process of bringing this story to life. "This is not a play about talking heads. This is a play that needs to be felt."
Such a spirit has led to far more dancing than has been seen in seasons' past, and a modern dance track to match that energy.
It's an energy that allows the cast a certain spontaneity, Wooddell said, even if they have been immersed in the material for the past several months. After all, who doesn't want to go to a party every night?
"It promises to be a lot of fun," he said.
Shakespeare on the Sound performs at Pinkney Park, 77 Rowayton Ave., Rowayton. Thursday, June 16, to Sunday June 26. Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, 100 Arch St., Greenwich. Tuesday, July 5, to Sunday, July 10. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. (park opens at 4 p.m.). No Monday performances. Free, with suggested donation of $20 adults/$10 students and seniors. Guests may bring food or purchase on site. 203-299-1300, www.shakespeareonthesound.org.