Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park returning to Pittsfield Common in August

From left, Julius Reese, Alexia Trainor, Robert Greifeld, Seth Keyes and Christopher Brophy in a scene from Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park's 2014 inaugural production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"..

Berkshire Eagle staff

PITTSFIELD — After a one-year break, Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park returns this summer with its fifth free outdoor production on the First Street Common — "Much Ado About Nothing," directed by Maizy Broderick Scarpa, who played Puck in PSP's inaugural production, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in 2014.

The production will feature actors, designers and technicians from the Berkshire County community, including many veterans of past Pittsfield Shakespeare productions.

The romantic comedy opens Aug. 15, following Pittsfield's 3rd Thursdays street festival that evening, and runs through Aug. 25, beginning at 8 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, at the First Street Common, next to Zion Lutheran Church. Admission is free.

Members of the community are invited to audition for "Much Ado About Nothing" by submitting a video monologue. Details on roles, rehearsal dates, and how to submit can be found at pittsfieldshakespeare.org/audition.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is the story of the trials of love in a society dominated by patriarchal traditions.

"This play is incredibly relevant in 2019, casting a light on issues that are all too present today," PSP artistic director Enrico Spada said in a news release. "When a man, bent on revenge, swears on a lie about a young woman — why does nobody believe her? In this festive comedy, Shakespeare points to tendencies in society that should be sadly familiar."

"Much Ado About Nothing" is made possible through the support of The Feigenbaum Foundation, the production's lead sponsor. Additional in-kind support is provided by the Zion Lutheran Church of Pittsfield, the City of Pittsfield, and a coalition of support from individuals and local businesses. Donations can be made at pittsfieldshakespeare.org.

Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park will partner with the young musicians of Rock On! to present a series of pre-show music acts before weekend evening performances. Music begins at 7:15 p.m., 45-minutes before Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows (full schedule and performers to be announced).

Each evening performance will be supported by a different local organization, which will provide volunteer ushers and other helpers to hand out programs, park cars, and help with seating. Interested organizations should contact volunteer coordinator Alexandra Warshaw at volunteer@pittsfieldshakespeare.org.

Launched in the summer of 2014, Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park presents fully-produced performances of Shakespeare's plays under the evening sky for free to the public. According to PSP officials, over 10,000 people have attended its first four productions — "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (2014); "Romeo and Juliet" (2015); "The Tempest" (2016); and "Twelfth Night" (2017).

"Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park is a celebration of community, culture and the joys of sharing stories," "Much Ado" director Scarpa said in a news release. "The Berkshires are full of quality arts experiences, and one of my favorite things about PSP is its ability to reach with anyone who is interested — whether you are a seasoned theatergoer, or a six-year-old who lives down the street."