Get ready for a magical evening of Shakespeare on the Common as the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company stages Much Ado about Nothing, this year's annual family-friendly "Shakespeare in the Park" production of free Boston theater during July and August.

Watch the actors on stage above a grassy slope as this classic Shakespearean story about magic, betrayal, revenge, and family loyalties plays out before you. 

There's nothing more perfect than enjoying one of these wonderful Shakespeare on the Common performances under the stars on a balmy Boston summer evening.

Performances take place in July and August on a temporary stage near the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. 

Bring a blanket or low folding chair to sit on, and get ready to be entertained, to have your thinking challenged in new ways, and to listen to the thrilling language of Shakespeare, as meaningful today as when he wrote this play four centuries ago.

Bonus:  Shakespeare knew the power of laughter - so even in his most tragic plays, you can always expect some comic relief.

Check exact dates/times on the Boston Event Calendar for July (or August)

"Cheat Sheet" for Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing:  Can't Quite Recall this Play?  Here Are Highlights

Blink at Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Setting for Much Ado about Nothing

Shakespeare chose Messina, a city on the Sicilian coast, as the setting for Much Ado about Nothing, which he probably wrote prior to 1598 or 1599, believed to be the years when it was first performed.

As the play begins, the "Bastard Prince" of Aragon, Don John, returns from battle with his companions Benedict, a nobleman and solder from Padua, and Claudio, a count and Benedict's friend from Florence. 

On hand to greet them is Leonato, Governor of Messina.  Claudio has fond feelings for Leonato's daughter Hero.  Benedict has a semi-flirtations insult-based relationship with Beatrice, Leonato's niece.

Plot of Much Ado about Nothing

As is so often true with Shakespeare's places, get ready for a play with many twists, turns, and subplots. 

In Much Ado about Nothing, the plot revolves around two couples: Claudio and Hero, who quickly fall in love and decide to get married on the next day, and Benedick and Beatrice, who act as though they loathe each other until they discover (or so they believe) that they're each the secret object of the other's affections.

However, all of this turns out to be an illusion based on deception, trickery, and disguises, not to speak of obsessions with infidelity - a theme Shakespeare explores again and again in his plays.  Much of the action of the play revolves around unravelling the layers of lies. 

Fortunately, these efforts succeed before anyone dies, despite death threats and orders to kill issued by various characters, so the play remains a "comedy" rather than veering into Romeo and Juliet-type tragedy.

Commonwealth Shakespeare's productions are always fast-paced, entertaining, and thought-provoking.  Much Ado about Nothing promises to be an evening to remember.

Bottom Line: Will You Enjoy Much Ado about Nothing?

Yes, absolutely.  Commonwealth Shakespeare Company excels at making even the most difficult plays accessible, so a light-hearted romantic comedy such as Much Ado about Nothing is easy to love.  You can be sure they'll deliver an absorbing, compelling, contemporary performance to leave you entertained ... and perhaps even thoughtful. 

Where to Stay Nearby

Watch Shakespeare on the Common, and then stroll back to your hotel in five minutes or less when you stay at one of these popular hotels overlooking the Common, or just a block away.