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Much Ado About Nothing - full casting announced

Theatre preview

FULL casting has been announced for Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Mark Rylance, which runs at the Old Vic from September 19 (previews from September 7) to November 16, 2013.

Joining the previously announced James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave will be Tim Barlow, Penelope Beaumont, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Katherine Carlton, Beth Cooke, Alan David, Michael Elwyn, Lloyd Everitt, James Garnon, Melody Grove, Trevor Laird, Leroy Osei-Bonsu, Mark Ross, Peter Wight and Danny Lee Wynter.

While young lovers Claudio and Hero threaten to have their imminent nuptials thwarted by the resentful scheming of a Prince, marriage seems inconceivable for reluctant lovers Beatrice (Vanessa Redgrave) and Benedick (James Earl Jones).

Redgrave and Earl Jones, who take on these roles for the first time, recently starred in Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy both in the West End and on Broadway.

James Earl Jones’ voice is known by people of all ages and walks of life – from the Star Wars fans who know him as the voice of ‘Darth Vader’ to children who know him as ‘Mufasa’ from Disney’s The Lion King.

Jones made his Broadway debut in 1957 and had his first breakthrough role in 1960 when Joseph Papp cast him in Shakespeare’s Henry V, marking the beginning of Jones’s long affiliation with the New York Shakespeare Festival, eventually counting the title roles in Othello, Macbeth and King Lear among his many distinguished performances for the company.

Jones has won Tony Awards for the Broadway productions of The Great White Hope and Fences; a Tony nomination for On Golden Pond; Drama Desk Awards for Othello, Les Blancs, Hamlet, The Cherry Orchard and Fences; Obie Awards for Clandestine on the Morning Line, The Apple, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl and Baal; a Theatre World Award for Moon on a Rainbow Shawl; and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Fences.

Jones other theatre credits include Paul Robeson, The Iceman Cometh, Of Mice and Men, the Broadway and London productions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor) and the Broadway production of The Best Man. He has just finished a six month tour of Australia, with Driving Miss Daisy.

His films include The Great White Hope (Academy Award nomination), Dr. Strangelove, Claudine, The Comedians, The River Niger, The Greatest, A Piece of the Action, Gardens of Stone, Coming to America, The Sandlot, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, Matewan, Cry the Beloved Country and Field of Dreams.

As well as Driving Miss Daisy, Vanessa Redgrave’s theatre credits include the UK premiere of The Year of Magical Thinking, John Gabriel Borkman and The Cherry Orchard (National Theatre), the RSC’s Hecuba (in London, Washington, New York and Delphi) and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (on Broadway) for which she received a Tony Award for Best Actress.

Her numerous screen credits include The Whistleblower, Letters to Juliet, Atonement, Evening, The Fever, Venus, The Shell Seekers, The Gathering Storm, If These Walls Could Talk, for which she received Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress, and Julia, for which she won Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress.

Mark Rylance most recently appeared on stage in Nice Fish at the Guthrie Theatre, Inneapolis, which he co-authored with Louis Jenkins and which he also co-directed with Claire van Kampen, and in Richard III and Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe and West End). His other theatre credits include Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in the critically-acclaimed production of Jerusalem (Royal Court, West End and Broadway).

In 2007, he wrote his first play, I Am Shakespeare, which premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Matthew Warchus, published in 2012 by Nick Hern Books.

His screen work includes Anonymous, Intimacy, The Other Boleyn Girl, Prospero’s Books, Angels and Insects, Leonardo and David Kelly in C4’s The Government Inspector for which he won the BAFTA Best Actor Award.

Much Ado About Nothing is designed by Ultz, with lighting by Mimi Jordan Sherin, music by Claire van Kampen, sound by Emma Laxton and movement by Siân Williams.