(l to r) Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman in ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus)
As part of its free Shakespeare in the Park summer program, The Public Theater stages yet another rendition of Much Ado About Nothing at the open-air Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. Embracing its longstanding commitment to diverse casting, this production delivers a modern setting with a formidable all-black cast.
Orange is the New Black star Danielle Brooks leads the charge as Beatrice, the sharp-witted (and sharp-tongued protagonist). Her excellent performance cleverly delivers Shakespeare’s complex verse, fantastic physical comedy, and a singing voice more powerful than one might suspect.
Brooks’ co-star with this quick-moving banter is Grantham Coleman as Benedick, the strutting bachelor who values his freedom and his fellow soldiers more than any woman. Any woman except Beatrice, it seems.