Great Lakes Theater takes 'Double Heart' to the road

Free touring production will visit 21 venues across northeast Ohio.

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Great Lakes Theater (GLT) will launch the world premiere of "Double Heart: The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick," a free hour-long touring production scheduled to visit 21 neighborhood venues throughout northeast Ohio, to kick off the company's 2013 series of Surround outreach programming. The play, an imagined prequel to Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," is written in poetic verse by Northeast Ohio playwright and Supervisor of GLT's School Residency Program, David Hansen, and features a touring company of four actors directed by Lisa Ortenzi. The tour runs from Feb. 12 through March 7 and is designed to support Great Lakes Theater's upcoming mainstage production of "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, which opens in March. All performances of the touring production are free and open to the public, with the exception of performances at area schools, which are private. The touring play is appropriate for all audiences.

"For nearly 25 years, Great Lakes Theater has brought free, professional theater out into the community in the form of our educational outreach tours," said Daniel Hahn, Great Lakes Theater's Director of Education about the company's annual tour. "When you see the audience's appreciation, whether it's in an auditorium of high school students or at an assisted living facility, or even at a local community theatre or library, there's nothing quite like taking professional theatre to the people, and having the opportunity to have an open discussion with our audiences and actors after each and every performance."

"Double Heart," an imagined prequel to Much Ado About Nothing, envisions the early courtship of Beatrice and Benedick, providing a back story to Shakespeare's tale.

The four-actor touring company features Cleveland actors David Hansen, Annie Hickey, Emily Pucell, and James Rankin. The design trio of Terry Martin (scenic design), Esther Haberlen (costume design) and Richard Ingraham (sound design) complete the play's production team. Lisa Ortenzi, the director of the touring production, also serves as the Supervisor of Great Lakes Theater's acclaimed School Residency Program.

"Double Heart" is a 60-minute program that includes an introduction and post-performance discussion.

Times and dates are subject to change. Call individual venues for more information.

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