Ghostlight ready to open run of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

John Rose (as Don Pedro), Linzey Connor (Hero), Ashton Brown (Claudio) and Jeff Viso (Leonato) work a scene from “Much Ado About Nothing” during rehearsals at Ghostlight Theatre in Sun City West. [Submitted photo]

Sun City West stage takes on Shakespeare, with a twist


Ghostlight Theatre is opening 2019 with a turn of Shakespeare’s classic comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” which runs Jan. 17-27 on the Sun City West stage at 13541 W. Camino del Sol in the Sundome Plaza.

Shakespeare’s work about two pairs of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero, was probably first performed in late 1598 or early 1599, the Royal Shakespeare Company estimates, and it is Shakespeare’s most frequently performed comedy around the world to this day.

“The themes in Shakespeare’s plays have not changed. Nor have the emotions that we experience,” Chris Ulbrich, the director of the Ghostlight production, stated. “We all want to be loved and love someone in return. Most of us have experienced betrayal in our lives, and we fight with each other. These emotions were the same in Shakespeare’s time as they are today and will continue to be far into the future.”

Mr. Ulbrich was a 2018 ariZoni Awards nominee as Actor in a Supporting Role for his part in Ghostlight’s production of “Stuck Moving Up.” He works the other side of the stage this time around.

“There are a couple of themes in this play which still hold true today,” he stated. “First is to not judge people until you truly get to know them, and second would be to take ownership of one’s transgressions. We all make judgments about people whether or not they are true and we all make mistakes. It is the hope that we can correct past mistakes and change our beliefs about inaccurate judgments in order to live happier and more enlightened lives.”

The 14-member cast is led by Shannon Russo as “Beatrice” and Derek Davenport as “Benedick.” Mr. Davenport was a 2018 ariZoni nominee for Actor in a Major Role for his work in “Stuck Moving Up.”

“Much Ado” opens 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 and features eight shows through Jan. 27.

“A group of soldiers return from the war,” the Royal Shakespeare Company writes while summing up the plot. “The world-weary Benedick and his friend Claudio find themselves reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite their own altogether more combative courtship.”

The Ghostlight production sets the story in the 1920s.

“While the script has not changed, not many theatres, at least to my knowledge have staged this production in roaring 20s,” Mr. Ulbrich stated. “I have tried to incorporate a visual look and feel that will transport the audience back to that the 1920s, as well as incorporate elements and trends from today’s pop culture.”



What: “Much Ado About Nothing”

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 17-19, Jan. 24-26; and 2 p.m. Jan. 19-20, Jan. 26-27

Where: Ghostlight Theatre, 13541 W. Camino del Sol

Tickets: $20 online at, or at the theatre box office 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays

Also: Upcoming Ghostlight productions of “I Hate Shakespeare!” (Feb. 28-March 10) and “The Glass Menagerie” (April 4-14) are looking for assistant directors and/or stage managers. Applicants must be able to attend evening rehearsals at the Sun City West theater, and provide resumes. Email .

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.