“Much Ado About Nothing” on GREAT PERFORMANCES | Friday, August 14 at 9 pm

Posted on:

< < Back to

Great Performances Presents The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park Production of Much Ado About Nothing

 All-black cast features Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon


GREAT PERFORMANCES "Much Ado About Nothing" coiuple engaged in intimate conversation
Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing
Presented by The Punlic Theater, Delacorte, Central Park, New York, NY
June 23, 2019. Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Kenny Leon. Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman

For the first time in over four decades, Great Performances presents a Public Theater production recorded live at Free Shakespeare in the Park. After a highly successful, critically acclaimed run at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in New York City’s Central Park, Much Ado About Nothing joins the third annual Great Performances “Broadway’s Best” lineup, airing Friday, August 14 at 9 p.m. on WOUB, and the PBS video app.

This bold interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedic masterpiece features Danielle Brooks (“Orange is the New Black,” Broadway’s “The Color Purple”) and Grantham Coleman (“Buzzer,” “The Americans”) as the sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick. Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (“American Son,” “A Raisin in the Sun”) directs with choreography by Tony Award nominee Camille A. Brown (“Choir Boy”).

Great Performances has a long history of providing audiences free access to the best in theater, from Broadway musicals to Shakespearean classics, and we’re delighted to partner with The Public Theater again,” said Great Performances Executive Producer David Horn, who directed the play for television. “This modern reinterpretation by Kenny Leon couldn’t be more timely, showing how Shakespeare addressed issues that we are still facing as a country today.”

Much Ado About Nothing woman sitting on chair
Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing
Presented by The Punlic Theater, Delacorte, Central Park, New York, NY. June 23, 2019. Margaret Odette

“The Public is theater of, by and for all people, and we are thrilled that our partnership with Great Performances will bring our Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Kenny Leon’s brilliant production of Much Ado About Nothing to even more audiences throughout New York City and across the country,” said Patrick Willingham, Executive Director of The Public Theater.

Set in contemporary Georgia with an election race underway, Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing finds the community of Messina celebrating a break from an ongoing war, but not all is peaceful amid the merriment. Former rivals battle it out, revenge is sought and trickery runs amok in this timeless comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication. Earning a New York Times Critic’s Pick, the play was recorded during its final weekend of Free Shakespeare in the Park performances, June 22-23, 2019.

The cast also includes Jamar Brathwaite (Ensemble), Chuck Cooper (Leonato), Javen K. Crosby (Ensemble), Denzel DeAngelo Fields (Ensemble), Jeremie Harris (Claudio), Tayler Harris (Ensemble), Erik Laray Harvey (Antonio/Verges), Kai Heath (Messenger), Daniel Croix Henderson (Balthasar), Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Friar Francis/Sexton), Tiffany Denise Hobbs (Ursula), Lateefah Holder (Dogberry), LaWanda Hopkins (Dancer), Billy Eugene Jones (Don Pedro), Margaret Odette (Hero), Hubert Point-Du Jour (Don John), William Roberson (Ensemble), Jaime Lincoln Smith (Borachio), Jazmine Stewart (Ensemble), Khiry Walker (Conrade/Ensemble), Olivia Washington (Margaret) and Latra A. Wilson (Dancer).

Wedding during Much Ado About Nothing
Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing
Presented by The Punlic Theater, Delacorte, Central Park, New York, NY. June 23, 2019Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Kenny Leon. Margaret Odette, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and Jeremie Harris

Throughout its more than 40-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport. Click here to join WOUB Passport and have access to streaming content today!

Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET in association with The Public Theater. Directed for television by David Horn. Produced by Mitch Owgang. Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

This Great Performances presentation is funded by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, The Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and PBS.

More information available at:,, @GPerfPBS, #GreatPerformancesPBS #BroadwayOnPBS