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Essex Theatre Company opens 2013 with ‘Much Ado’

Members of the Essex Theatre Company’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” include, standing from left, Dana McLaughlin, Evan Fazziola, Ian Allardice, Matthew Hammons, Steven Hebert; seated from left, Sean Nihill, Paige Grickoski, Jill Mann, Cami Reviezzo. Not pictured are Sarah Cohen and Mark LaPoint.

Members of the Essex Theatre Company’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” include, standing from left, Dana McLaughlin, Evan Fazziola, Ian Allardice, Matthew Hammons, Steven Hebert; seated from left, Sean Nihill, Paige Grickoski, Jill Mann, Cami Reviezzo. Not pictured are Sarah Cohen and Mark LaPoint.

— A classic tale will get a modern twist as the summer season of the Essex Theatre Company raises the curtain July 12.

The William Shakespeare classic, “Much Ado About Nothing,” will take to the stage at 7 that night, with additional performances at 7 p.m. July 13, 18, 19 and 20. There will also be a 2 p.m. show July 14 and a 5:30 p.m. curtain July 17. All shows will be at the Masonic Lodge in Essex.

The play is directed by Emily Madan, who decided to take the classic story and put it into a modern pop-culture setting.

“I have fallen in love with the ridiculousness of reality television, especially ‘Keeping Up with the Kardasians,’” Madan said. “When Shakespeare wrote this play, these people would have naturally been together. So we needed to find a setting that would bring all of these characters together in the same house, and the filming of a reality television show is the perfect way to get them together.”

Madan said this is her first adaptation and she has been working with the cast to bring the characters into the roles.

“This is definitely a collaborative effort,” she said. “Everyone is designing their own character, and we are uniting everything as we go, which is super fun. I have no idea what it is going to look like, but I know it will be fun.”

The cast is made up of mostly Plattsburgh State theater students, including Madan. Also joining the production are Erin Nihill as stage manager, Dana McLaughlin, Evan Fazziola, Ian Allardice, Jill Mann, Cami Riviezzo, Matthew Hammons, Sean Nihill, Steven Hebert, Sarah Cohen, Mark LaPoint and the youngest member of the cast, 9 year-old Paige Grickoski.

“This is the second time she has done a Shakespeare play with me,” Madan said of Grickoski, who is her cousin.

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