AU Press Releases

There will be 'Much Ado About Nothing' in the CD Smith Theater

Alfred University students, staff, and faculty are collaborating to present William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,’ to be performed each evening Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 6-9 at 8 in CD Smith III Theatre, Miller Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are required; reservations are encouraged. To purchase tickets, visit the online Box Office ( or call 607.871.2828. Tickets are $5 general admission, $3 for senior citizens and non-AU students, and $1 for AU students with ID.

The play, written between 1598 and 1599, is widely considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies. Combining hilarity with more serious elements such as honor, shame, and court politics, it intersperses joy and happiness with darker concerns such as trickery and dishonesty. The production features witty Benedick and Beatrice, who, despite their incessant verbal dueling, are tricked into confessing their love for each other, as well as innocent and sweet Claudio and Hero, two lovers who fall victim to the evil trickery of villainous Don John.

Keeping the original plot, the AU cast and crew have “moved” the play from Sicily, Italy to a setting in Miami, FL, in the late 1920s.

Directed by AU Theater Professor Becky Prophet, “Much Ado About Nothing” features student, staff, and faculty cast and crew members. Professor of Theater Design Marketa Fantova is serving as lighting designer. Division of Performing Arts staff members Zachary Hamm, technical director, and Debra McCrea, costume shop manager, fill those roles for the production.

Costumes for the show were designed by Allison Burrell, a senior art and design major from Corning. Rebecca Cooner, a sophomore early childhood/childhood education major from Gasport, is stage manager. She is assisted by Letizia Cantu, a student from Italy studying at AU, and Meredith Laubert, a sophomore materials science and engineering major from Mays Landing, NJ.  

Student performers include Bellisant Corcoran-Mathe, a junior theater major from Kendall, as Beatrice; Danny Gray, a sophomore art and design major from Madison, WI, as Benedick; Jessica Antrobus, a senior English and communications studies major from Orange Village, Ohio, as Hero; Owens “OJ” Shepard, a sophomore criminal justice studies/sociology major from Rochester, as Claudio; Darren Palmer, a senior theater major from Wingdale, as Leonato, Hero’s father; and (Jon) Mark Anderson, a sophomore from Granby, CT, as Don John,bastard brother of Don Pedro. Timothy Cox, visiting assistant professor of English, portrays Prince Don Pedro.

Additional students in the production include Rachel Romack, a junior psychology and theater major from Candor, playing Ursula, a gentlewoman member of the household; Dana Harris, a junior theater major from Alpine, portraying Sister Francesca; Kasey (Cassandra) Hall of Bath, a sophomore theater major, as Lucina, a maid/messenger; and Nathan Earley, a senior theater major from New Ipswich, NH, as Dogberry, a constable.

Prophet is an alumna of Alfred University, holding a bachelor of arts degree in English. She received a master of arts degree and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Having spent nearly three decades working and teaching in theater, she has acted, directed, and taught in Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Atlanta.

Prophet enjoys directing plays which challenge students and audiences and favors theater which presses for social and political change. She is highly active in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KC/ACTF) and Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and has created an intensive directing institute for students, presents numerous workshops and papers, and directs new plays at every conference.

Fantova is the recipient of several awards for costume, mask, and scenic design, including two from the KC/ACTF. She holds a bachelor of arts degree equivalent in industrial and graphic design from the School of Vaclav Hollar, Czech Republic; a bachelor of fine arts degree in scenography from DAMU Theatre Academy of Music Arts, Prague, Czech Republic; and a master of fine arts degree in scene design from Wayne State University, Detroit. In addition, she received a technical certification in architecture from Czech Technical University. Fantova has done design work in the United States, Italy, and the Czech Republic.

Hamm has worked on dozens of productions along the East Coast, particularly in New York, North Carolina, and Virginia. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in architectural studies in art from Connecticut College, New London, CT, and a master of fine arts degree in technical theater production from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Hamm co-authored a juried article presented at the 2007 United States Institute for Theatre Technology Stage Expo and Conference.

McCrea has over 30 years of experience as a spinner, weaver, and dyer, and professionally as a seamstress and costumer. She has taught natural-dyeing workshops for the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association, Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival, NYS Sheep & Wool Festival, and the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

Cox has over 20 years of teaching experience in academic writing, professional writing, literature and literary theory, and pedagogy. Conversant in French and Swedish, he has lived and taught abroad and has experience in teaching non-native speakers.

“Much Ado About Nothing” is sponsored by the Alfred University Division of Performing Arts within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.