MuchadoaboutnothingBenedick (Patrick Monaghan, Little Silver) kneels before his Beatrice (Katherine Kennedy, Avon), as the Red Bank Regional VPA drama majors rehearse their lead roles in the school production of Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, opening November 20 at RBR.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

It’s a bit more than three years since William Shakespeare’s classic couple Beatrice and Benedick — a pair of combatants in “a merry war” known as Much Ado About Nothing — were last seen onstage around the greater Red Bank Green. But while the occasion (the season opener for the professional Two River Theater Company) and the talent (Tony-nominated superstar director Sam Buntrock; Obie-winning leading man Michael Cumpsty; Tony-nominated leading lady Kathleen Meisle) set the bar high for all who dared to follow, that’s hardly the sort of thing to deter the students of the Visual and Performing Arts program at Red Bank Regional High School.

Beginning on the evening of Thursday, November 20 and continuing for two more performances through November 23, the VPA drama majors present the Bard’s circa-1600 comedy of battling sexes, courtship intrigues and (eventually) reconciled lovers as their fall dramatic production on the RBR Theatre.

MuchadoaboutnothingposterPatrick Monaghan of Little Silver and Katherine Kennedy of Avon-by- the Sea are spotlighted as Benedick and Beatrice, the soldier and the Governor’s niece whose acid-tongued relationship seems nonetheless destined for the wedding altar. Portraying the play’s other power couple — lovestruck fellow soldier Claudio and Governor’s daughter Hero — are Griffin Cole (Atantic Highlands) and Dixie O’Connell (Little Silver), with Ryan Amorelli (Shrewsbury) as Leonato, governor of Messina, and Red Bank’s Jordan Fleming in the standout comic role of bumbling constable Dogberry.

Performances of Much Ado About Nothing are at 7 pm on November 20, 21 and 22, with a closing 3 pm matinee on Sunday, November 23. Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.