Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Much Ado about Nothing (1973, A. J. Antoon)

TitleMuch Ado about Nothing
Release LocationsUSA
DirectorA. J. Antoon
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs
Audiencegeneral public
Play ConnectionsMuch Ado About Nothing (teleplay)


A recording on 16 mm film of Joseph Papp's and A.J. Antoon's "American ragtime" adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing. Originally produced for the New York Shakespeare Festival Delacorte Theater in Central Park, it then enjoyed a commercial success at the Winter Garden on Broadway. For rights to the national television program, CBS gave the Festival Theatre $775,000. This apparent bonanza backfired badly though when the cost of the television production soared to $810,100, and, even worse, hurt box office sales for the live show. The show was then forced to close down on February 11, 1973, only nine days after the national television transmission on February 2, 1973 (see "Much Ado of TV Dooms Stage Version," NYT 7 Feb. 1973: 30). Ironically IBM, the sponsor, had taken out a full page ad in The New York Times on February 2nd that pointed out how much cheaper it was to watch the play on television than to see it live in the theatre for $9.50 [sic] (Broadway ticket prices now range from $25 to $60 and up!). In any event this struggle between television and live theatre for an audience is paradigmatic of the gradual withering away of theatre audiences even in such traditional bastions of the stage as New York City

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

DogberryBarnard Hughes
Don JohnJerry Mayo
HeroApril Shawhan
CastGlenn Walken
BenedickSam Waterston
Don PedroDouglas Watson
BeatriceKathleen Widdoes

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorA. J. Antoon
ProducerRupert Hitzig
ComposerPeter Link
ChoreographyDonald Saddler
Stage DirectorJoseph Papp
CostumesTheoni Aldredge
ProductionTom John

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell