AST opens seventh summer season

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre will open its seventh summer season Thursday, June 6, with “Much Ado About Nothing,” outdoors at The Village at Hendrix in Conway.

Shakespeare’s beloved comedy showcases the wit and wisecracks of Beatrice and Benedick, who realize, much to their mutual surprise, their shared romantic feelings.

“Beatrice and Benedick are strong-minded individuals who fail to see the love that is right in front of them,” AST artistic director Rebekah Scallet said. “Audiences of all ages will enjoy watching the hilarious antics that ensue as their love affair unfolds.”

Ron Thomas of Chicago and Little Rock native Heather Dupree, who both played lead roles last year for AST in “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III,” will return this season to play Benedick and Beatrice.

“Audiences who saw the plays last summer will remember Ron and Heather for their notable roles last year,” said Mary Ruth Marotte, executive director of AST. “It’s great to have returning actors because audiences experience a fresh side of that actor in the new season. For that reason it is fun to take in the entire festival — all four plays — in June. You’ll see an actor play a villain in one play and a hero in another.”

All of the outdoor performances are “pay what you can,” with a suggested donation of $10 per person. Bring your family, your lawn chair and picnic blanket, and enjoy a night of live theater under the stars.

AST will also produce the musical “Oliver!”, “King Lear” and a children’s adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (“Bottom’s Dream”) in the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas.

For tickets or more information about AST’s summer shows, visit or call the Reynolds box office at 501.450.3265 or 1.866.810.0012.