Hope College Theatre will present "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare in the DeWitt Center main theatre beginning Friday, March 5.

Performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6; and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, March 10, 12 and 13; all with an 8 p.m. curtain.  There will be an additional 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, March 13.

Shakespeare's comedy "Much Ado About Nothing" revolves around marriages and mishaps.  The design team is setting the play in 1899, and the story combines comedic misunderstandings, witty barbs, and the endearingly frustrating search for love.

The production features the work of guest lighting designer Stephen Quandt, a freelance lighting designer based in New York City.  Quandt has designed Off Broadway and regionally across the United States and abroad.  He is a graduate of the College of Wooster, received his MFA in design from New YorkUniversity's TischSchool of the Arts and is a member of United Scenic Artists local 829. Regionally he has designed for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center, Capital Rep. Co. in AlbanyN.Y., Studio Arena Theater in BuffaloN.Y., Merrimack Rep. in LowellMass., The Court Theatre at the University of Chicago, the Stamford Center for the Arts, the State Ballet of Missouri, Gettysburg College, and Bennington College.  He has also designed several productions for Yale University, where he teaches part time in the Theatre Studies Program.

"It's been a great pleasure working with the faculty, staff and students at Hope College on this fresh and joy-filled production," Quandt said of the design process.

Quandt went on to explain his inspiration,  "Almost all of this production is set outside in the late 19th century, and while one main task of the lighting design is to help communicate ideas about time and place, it's also about communicating style.  For this reason I took inspiration from the impressionist painter Monet, who painted many outdoor scenes from the same period and whose work seemed appropriate to the story and style of 'Much Ado.'"

The production is directed by Daina Robins of the college's theatre faculty.  Other faculty members working on the production team are Michelle Bombe, costume designer, and Richard Smith, scenic and properties designer.  Serving as technical director is staff member Paul Anderson.

The cast of "Much Ado About Nothing" includes: freshman Skyler Adams of Holland; freshman Lydia Blickley of Grand Rapids; sophomore Noah Busman of Scotia, N.Y.; junior Brianna Cooney of Waterford; senior Jeri Frederickson of Wheaton, Ill.; junior Ben Hertel of New Richmond; freshman Haley Hodges of Hart; junior Katie Hoekstra of Kalamazoo; sophomore Cory Lakatos of Howell; freshman Michael David Lesousky of Fairfield, Fla.; junior Cassie Niespodziewanski of Clarendon Hills, Ill.; freshman Emily Nock of Grand Junction, Colo.; sophomore Daniel Pesch of Western Springs, Ill.;  junior Jackie Richards of Worthington, Ohio; sophomore John Telfer of Western Springs, Ill.; junior Jenny Tremblay of Oostburg, Wis.; freshman Mary Tripp of Farmington Hills; and sophomore Kara Williams of Saline.

Other students working on the production include:  senior Stephen Cornelius of East Grand Rapids, sound designer; senior Sara Gosses of Amherst, Ohio, assistant lighting designer; senior Ken Chamberlain of Metuchen, N.J., master electrician; sophomore Brittni Nowicki of West Bloomfield, stage manager; and freshman Mackenzie Anderson of Bay City, assistant stage manager.

Tickets for "Much Ado About Nothing" are $7 for regular admission, $5 for Hope faculty and staff, and $4 for students and senior citizens, and are available at the ticket office located in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse.  The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and may be called at (616) 395-7890.  In addition, the theatre lobby ticket office in the DeWitt Center will be open on performance nights at 7 p.m.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets. The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.