Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare in the Park)
Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare in the Park)
86

Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare in the Park) NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(111 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
4%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever, Funny

About the Show

Tony Award winner Kenny Leon directs an all-black staging of Shakespeare’s cherished comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication for The Public's free, outdoor summer season.

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Member Reviews (111)

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982 Reviews | 343 Followers
75
Long, Clever, Great set, Lively, Fun singing/dancing

See it if you like creative Shakesp. Set in 2019 Georgia. Benedick shines. Crowd pleaser. Fast paced, but long...some slow spots.

Don't see it if you want to hear the verse spoken well by all actors; some do better than others. Still, a clever, well-directed adaptation.

650 Reviews | 284 Followers
84
Very entertaining "much ado" set in modern times in america w black cast, emphasizing black culture

See it if 1 of Will's great comedies; high-energy, laugh-out-loud production; beautiful singing & kinetic dance

Don't see it if best when Beatrice & Benedick jousting w each other are equals, here Bea dominates Ben; broad in your face production lacks wit Read more

505 Reviews | 729 Followers
90
Forced, Romantic, Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if you’re looking for a fresh, modern interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies. The acting is terrific.

Don't see it if you’re a Shakespeare purist. Also, the last 2 minutes suffers from a forced message that’s completely irrelevant to the play. Very strange.

469 Reviews | 54 Followers
79
Disappointing, Great acting, Delightful

See it if great acting in a play one has seen so often. well stage and never dragged.

Don't see it if seen too many Much Ados. Another one is not really needed. The contemporary thing seems to be just tacked-on that didn't add anything.

434 Reviews | 95 Followers
79
Overdone, Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if You enjoy a good Shakespeare play. Great acting, singing, and story. Super funny and accessible.

Don't see it if You are tired of Much Ado About nothing and have seen it enough. Putting it in the modern era didn't really serve the story.

399 Reviews | 203 Followers
91
Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Delightful

See it if A terrific cast brings this classic to life in a new way. The use of modern music enhances the play. Great costumes.

Don't see it if If you're not fond of Shakespeare, or if you prefer your Shakespeare old-style, maybe this isn't for you. Poor you.

391 Reviews | 133 Followers
92
Funny, Great acting, Must see, Refreshing, Delightful

See it if So good the repartee sounds unscripted. Most entertaining comedy I’ve seen in a while. Shakespeare in the Park at its best.

Don't see it if you prefer productions that are stilted, antiquated, & ultimately disposable for being so disengaged from what’s enduringly funny/relatable. Read more

402 Reviews | 86 Followers
82
Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you like adaptations that remain faithful but contextualization and line delivery is modern. Wonderful performance from Danielle Brooks.

Don't see it if you don't like any Shakespeare, you do not like political context, do not want to sit outside. Around 3 hours including intermission.

Critic Reviews (29)

The New York Times
June 11th, 2019

“This delicious, admirably clear production, directed by Leon, acknowledges and builds on as it gently but firmly escorts the great comedy into a #MeToo, Black Lives Matter world...The actors play specifically black characters, drawing on their own resources of emotion and style to make those characters rich...Beneath the comedy, this production reflects a world in which domestic violence is more of a threat than the foreign kind...Its politics cloud neither the romance nor the comedy.”
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Time Out New York
June 11th, 2019

"Shakespeare in the Park's modernized new production of 'Much Ado' is powered by strong women of color...Leon's lucid production starts out frolicsome and funny; Brooks luxuriates in the humor, turning even the pronunciation of Benedick’s name into a punch line. But the show turns wistful after Hero and Claudio's nuptials are scuttled by John’s duplicity...A somber button reminds us that the battle of the sexes and the battle for equality both are far from won."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
June 11th, 2019

"Leon’s intermittently enjoyable production...doesn’t exactly tackle the play’s extant issues. Instead, it plays them straight and mostly breezy in a world that’s so fashionably contemporary that it throws the story’s fixation on spotless womanly virtue into strange relief...It’s a measure of the company’s big-hearted energy and of the play’s persistent delights that, despite its odd quirks and remnants, this 'Much Ado' stays afloat. Brooks and Coleman’s chemistry is largely responsible."
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The Hollywood Reporter
June 11th, 2019

“Leon's take is sufficiently distinctive and sexy...The ensemble — while at times directed to play the comedy too broadly — enlivens the language with the natural humor and musicality of black speech patterns...Leon plods through the rambling yap of Shakespeare's first two acts without much momentum, but the energy picks up...The twisty road to matrimony for Beatrice and Benedick often gets a little lost here in a busy staging that could have used a tighter focus."
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Entertainment Weekly
June 11th, 2019

“A near-perfect production of Shakespeare’s finest rom-com...While the production references our dispiriting current political climate, the mood is generally joyous, the laughs plentiful, and the focus rightly on Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes...For the most part the...text and updated milieu mesh nicely...At other moments, the plot bangs up against the setting...This ‘Ado’ offers too much joy to worry about vexing questions. For the most part, it makes a virtue of its contemporary touches.”
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Variety
June 11th, 2019

“Leon delivers the fun in a slaphappy, dance-crazy version of Shakespeare’s most likable, if thematically troubling, romantic comedy...The entire cast does exceptionally well by the Shakespearean language...Only the comic relief players, go too far, overdoing their buffoonish characters and leaning too heavily on the double entendres...Under the magical spell of theater in the park, no one could raise serious objections to the occasional license taken with the play."
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The Observer
June 11th, 2019

“Shakespeare in the Park’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Is the Best Party This Summer...Leon and a lovable, fierce, all-African American cast...Making Shakespeare’s zesty rom-com their own, and thereby delivering it to us fresher and funnier than I can remember in ages...Leon directs the entire affair with abundant flair and a great ear for the music of the original text—as well as finding places to insert more contemporary tunes...This is how Shakespeare in the Park should be.”
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New York Theatre Guide
June 12th, 2019

"It sings. It flies. Leon and his fine cast have imbued the production with a certain style, grace and spirit...Both Brooks and Coleman bring a special understanding to the text, lifting it above the strict confines of the page and turning it into a kind of sweet music...Chuck Cooper turns the poetry into dialogue that is a marvel to the ear. Nearly everyone else follows suit....What did they do to make it so their own? Methinks it is a soupçon of theatre magic."
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