MC Theatre to present “Much Ado About Nothing” Oct. 10-13

MC Theatre to present “Much Ado About Nothing” Oct. 10-13

Sept. 30, 2019

The Maryville College Theatre Department will present “Much Ado About Nothing” Oct. 10-13, 2019.

Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Oct. 10-12 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 13 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Haslam Family Flexible Theatre.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors (ages 60 and older) and students. Admission is free for Maryville College faculty, staff and students, but a printed ticket is required. To purchase tickets, please call the Clayton Center Box Office at 865.981.8590 or visit the Clayton Center website at

Walker Harrison ’13, adjunct instructor of theatre, is the director of the fall production.

“‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies,” said Harrison, who majored in theatre studies at MC and performed in many MC theatre productions as a student. “We have set our particular production in the Greek Islands in modern day as Don Pedro’s peace-keeping forces return from a refugee crisis to Leonato’s Mediterranean villa. The play centers around two couples; the quarrelsome and witty Benedick and Beatrice, and the instantly smitten Claudio and Hero. However, with villain Don Jon aiming to thwart any chance of happiness, what ensues is a classic Shakespearean tale of jealousy, betrayal, love and mischief.”

Audiences who are familiar with the play might notice a few changes to this production; in addition to the choice to set the production in the modern-day Greek Islands, Harrison cast a female student for the role of Benedick – a character who is a traditionally male aristocratic soldier who had been fighting under Don Pedro.

“Our society is in a place of flux regarding the view of gender roles and sexuality,” Harrison explained. “I did not set out with the intention of gender bending or modifying the roles; I simply chose the best actors for their respective parts. As a result, we have been able to explore unique layers within the text and realize how Shakespeare’s universal themes of love and deception transcend heteronormativity.”

Cast members include: Allison Parton ’20 as Beatrice; Hudson Perrine ’22 as Benedick; Brittany Barthelmess ’21 as Hero; Lucas Gasche ’23 as Claudio; Christopher Rodriguez ’21 as Don Pedro; Jacob Hudson ’23 as Don John; Doug James as Leonato; Riley Hamant ’21 as Friar; Lois Snow as Antonia; Lilly Potter ’22 as Ursula; Lucy Reddick ’23 as Margaret; Caston Weeks ’22 as Borachio; Kile Lovett ’23 as Conrade; Hallie Lafon ’22 as Dogberry; Bailee Burleson ’20 as Messenger/Choreographer; Kelty Oringderff ’21 as Balthazar/Violinist; Autumn Weaver ’22 as Verges; Aaron Capps ’23 as Watchmen/Soldier; Emi Brook Tippens ’23 as Seacoal/Soldier; Shoshana Overstreet ’20 as Sexton/Attendant; and Madison Andre ’20 and Gracie Ball ’23 as Attendants.

“For the College’s bicentennial, [Maryville College Professor of Theatre] Dr. Heather McMahon was looking for a Shakespearean play that had been done over the course of the College’s history,” Harrison said. “‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is one that has been done numerous times throughout various decades but had not graced the stage in far too many years.”

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”