Little Theatre of Owatonna has announced the cast and crew of its spring production, the much beloved Shakespearean comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”
The play begins as war has come to an end and a group of soldiers, led by Prince Don Pedro, comes to the city of Messina and to the home of Don Pedro’s good friend Leonato, a well-respected and well-to-do nobleman. Don Pedro is accompanied by Claudio, a young nobleman, and Benedick, a witty gentleman soldier. Also in the prince’s company is Don John the bastard, as Shakespeare calls him — the sullen, illegitimate brother of the prince, who tried unsuccessfully to rebel against the prince in the war.
When the soldiers come to Leonato’s home, Claudio once again reacquaints himself with Leonato’s young daughter, Hero, with whom he falls quickly and deeply in love, much to the chagrin of Benedick, a self-professed “tyrant” to women. Soon thereafter, Claudio and Hero become engaged to be married.
At the same time, Benedick meets up with Beatrice, Leonato’s witty and independent niece, Beatrice. She is, perhaps, the only one who can match wits with Benedick, and the two are said to have a “merry war” between them. Or, as Leonato says of them, “They never meet but there’s some skirmish of wit between them.” So under the direction of Prince Don Pedro, the others in the group — Leonato, Claudio, Hero and Hero’s two waiting women, Margaret and Ursula — scheme to get Benedick and Beatrice to fall in love.
Things go well for all involved until the prince’s brother, Don John, with the help of his henchmen Borachio and Conrade, plots to break up the relationship between Claudio and Hero and thereby to set his brother, the prince, against Leonato. And the plot might have worked were it not for the buffoonish yet surprisingly effective work of the constable Dogberry, his chief deputy Verges and his befuddled officers of the Watch.
Playing Beatrice and Benedick are Betsy Cole and Cody Jensen, respectively. Claudio and Hero are Michael Reider and Skye Jorgensen. Prince Don Pedro is Kevin Ideker and his brother Don John is played by Mark Zollner. Leonato will be played by Tom Walker, and Bill Wood will play his brother Antonio. Daren Strobel will play the Butler.
Hero’s two waiting women will be played by Deidra Jorgensen (Margaret) and Gail Zollner (Ursula). Don John’s henchmen will be played by Austin Parrish (Borachio) and David Phillips (Conrade).
Jon Terrill will play Dogberry with Ron Hager as Verges and Curt Jorgensen, Kimberly Strobel and Nolan Ideker as members of the Watch. The sexton will be played by Gaylene Steckelberg, and Friar Francis by Shari Strobel.
The ensemble will feature Holly Jorgensen, Payton Jorgensen, Sherry Kuns, Michelle Milton, Whitni Milton, Emily Strobel and Lilly Zollner.
Crew members include Kristi Westergard as stage manager with Jessie Hager, Korey Keck, and Daniel Stevens as stage hands; Mark Kuklok on set design; Keith Wohlenhaus on set construction; Naomi Jirele on set decoration; Kevin Steinbauer on light design, sound design and special effects; Tracy Green as light runner; Brett Johnson as assistant sound and light tech; Victoria Bartkowiak as sound runner; Norma Louis, Mary Gontarek, Gail Plathe, Sharon Stark, Glenice Swenson, and Drew Whitehead on costumes; Shirley Abraham, Andi Gaffke, Kris Jackson and Barb Ruhter on makeup; Catherine Manchack, Sarah Parrish, and Jan Schmidt, Shannon Tollefson on hair; Sandee Hardy-Hagen, Dean Hagen, Kimberly Keck, Sherry Kuns and Dianne Suarez on props; Kimberly Keck on photography; Kevin Ideker, Kris Jackson, Curt Jorgensen, Kay Schuster and Dianne Suarez as set painters; Katie Nelson on publicity; Glenice Swenson on website; Sharon Stark on ticket sales; and Brenda Hager as house manager.
Jeffrey Jackson is the artistic director. Technical directors are Sandee Hardy-Hagen and Kimberly Keck. Diane Skala is the choreographer.
Performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” will be 7:30 p.m. April 21, 22, 28 and 29, with 2 p.m. matinees on April 23 and 30.