-- The Department of Theatre and Dance at
The University of Southern Mississippi will present William Shakespeare's
hilarious comedy of love and intrigue, "Much Ado About Nothing,"
but with a twist. The production is set in New Orleans during the
Lou Rackoff, former artistic director of the North
Carolina Shakespeare Festival and a visiting guest artist with the
department for the 2004-05 season, will direct the show.
"The production at Southern Miss is highlighted
by the master craftsmanship of Mr. Rackoff, who punctuates the action
with sparkling moments of music and dance," said Scot Mann,
assistant professor of theatre.
"Much Ado About Nothing" is the Bard's great
comedy of war and love. The main characters, Beatrice and Benedict,
are among theatre's wittiest and most romantic couples. Their battle
of the sexes is witty, sophisticated, and accessible.
For Rackoff, this production brings the action of
the play closer to home by setting it in New Orleans after World
War I, with an early American jazz background. "Our setting
serves to heighten the romance and celebratory quality of the story,"
Rackoff has directed at many professional and university
theatres throughout the United States. His recent projects include
a nine-person production of "King Lear" for the West Virginia
University M.F.A. acting program; Shakespeare's "Lovers"
for the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre B.F.A. acting program;
and "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the Georgia Ensemble Theatre.
He has worked as a production stage manager for the
New York Shakespeare Festival and directed a national tour of the
company's production of "The Pirates of Penzance."
After receiving an M.F.A. in directing from the University
of Wisconsin in Madison, Rackoff was an assistant professor of directing
and acting at Fordham University--Lincoln Center.
The cast includes Brad Oxnam of Greenwood; Whitney
Upton and Keone Fuqua of Mobile, Ala.; Timothy O'Neal of Meraux,
La.; Jake Womak of Jackson; Kyle Russell and Dori Garziano of Pass
Christian; Joe Styron of Covington, La.; Will Davis of New Orleans,
La.; Cory Cunningham of Greenville; Isaac Gardner of Starkville;
Chad Martin of Johnson City, Tenn.; James Knotts of Stringer; Zdenko
Slobodnik of Madison; Mika Lanier of Rockwall, Texas; Corey Cochran
of Waynesboro; Robbie Cox of Cordova, Tenn.; Mason Criswell of Tupelo;
and Beth DeLozier of Silver Springs, Md.
The artistic staff includes stage manager Ashley Richwine
of New Orleans, La.; assistant director Katie McCrary of Hendersonville,
N.C.; scene designer Hyla Stellhorn of Jessamine County, Ky.; lighting
designer Mike Post of Washington Township, N.J.; sound designer
Ben Wheeler of Augusta, Ga.; costumer by Eric Griffis of Campen,
Ark.; and assistant costumer Rebbeca Hickman of Johnson City, Tenn.
Tickets are now on sale at the Southern Miss Ticket
Office. The show runs nightly at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11-13 and 18-20
and at 2 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Martha R. Tatum Theatre in the Theatre
and Dance Building.
Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for Southern
Miss faculty and staff and senior citizens, and $6 for students.
Call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425
for tickets and information. Order tickets online at