A modern twist on an old classic
by Staff reports
February 18, 2014 09:39 PM | 1879 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print

From left, Katelyn Pickel, Mary Decker, Anna Johnson, Levi Penley and Parker Patzke will be among the cast this weekend when the Reinhardt University Theatre Program brings William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ to life at the historic Canton Theatre. <br>Special to the Cherokee Tribune
From left, Katelyn Pickel, Mary Decker, Anna Johnson, Levi Penley and Parker Patzke will be among the cast this weekend when the Reinhardt University Theatre Program brings William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ to life at the historic Canton Theatre.
Special to the Cherokee Tribune
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CANTON — The Reinhardt University Theatre Program is bringing William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” to life at the historic Canton Theatre this weekend, but with a twist.

The comedy adaptation, set in 1958, features a feuding family, two couples — one in love, one not so much, the mob and even Elvis. In the place of swords and tights are dark suits, vintage dresses and pistols.

“The comedy is rip-roaring, and the drama is emotionally stirring,” said Kathy Newman, director. “If you’re a Shakespeare purest, this may not be for you. However, if you want to have fun and be moved, in the flavor of the ‘50s, then this show is definitely for you.”

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The production is dedicated to the late Dr. Kevin Crawford, former Reinhardt professor of English and theater. Tickets are available at the theatre box office on each show day.

Newman said that while the play is set in more modern times, the language is still Shakespeare’s.

“The words are still his, but I think anyone who has struggled with Ole’ Shakes in the past (and frankly who hasn’t) will find this version refreshing and much more relatable. This was, for me, a challenge and even bigger desire in directing this show, to make it easy to understand and as wickedly funny and as terribly dramatic as I think Shakes himself meant for it to be,” Newman said.

The cast features: Nick Cothran, a sophomore from Acworth, as Leonato; Allie Glonek, a senior from Dallas, Ga., as Hero; Kate Johnson, a senior from Canton, as Beatrice; Levi Penley, a senior from Social Circle, as Claudio/Dogberry; Tyler Bucher, a freshman from Cartersville, as Benedick; Clark Cumbee, a freshman from Euharlee, as Don Pedro; Rhonda Kelley, a freshman from Woodstock, and Reinhardt public safety officer, as Antonio; DeVante Tremble, a freshman from Statesboro, as Don John; Parker Patzke, a sophomore from Acworth as Borachio; Katelyn Pickel, a junior from Rocky Face as Conrade; Josh Robinson, a junior from Fairmount as Balthasar/Verges; Abi Sneathen, a sophomore from Statesboro, as Sister Francis; Hannah Marie Craton, a sophomore from Dallas, as Ursula; Mary Echols, a freshman from Clarkesville, as Margaret/Sexton; Anna Johnson, a freshman from Lehigh Acres, as a Mob Member; Leah Davis, a sophomore from Canton, as a Mob Member; and McKenna Haag, a freshman from Canton, as Leonato’s First Commander/Watchman.

The crew includes stage manager, lighting designer and props designer Stephanie Hettrick, a senior from Comer; costume designer Allie Glonek, a senior from Dallas; poster artist Chante Hill, a junior from Loganville; and scenic designer Ed Palombo.

Newman is an actor, director, producer and teacher. She is serving at Reinhardt as an adjunct instructor of theatre. She is also the founder of The Acting House, a private actors training studio in Atlanta, where she coaches professional actors.

Newman spent two decades in New York City where she worked on stage, in film, television and has national commercial work to her credit. She earned a master in fine arts in theater performance from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2006.

A member of SAG/AFTRA, she earned a working finalist privilege while in NYC at the Actors Studio. The last roles she brought to life were as Sumter and Lucille in The Collective Projects production of The Devil Tree in Atlanta in 2012.

Within the School of Performing Arts, Reinhardt’s theater program is designed to be an intensive professional-style training program in a liberal arts setting. A Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater are offered through the program.

Along with “Much Ado About Nothing,” the program has produced many well-known plays including: “Almost, Maine,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Proof” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

In April, Reinhardt Theatre will perform Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. To preorder tickets, call (770) 720-9167 or email boxoffice@reinhardt.edu.

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