Quarrelling Couple Cast for “Much Ado”

Much Ado About Nothing Casting
Matt Shimkus (recently seen in “Twelfth Night”) and Jennifer Lee Taylor (recently seen in “Pygmalion”) to play Benedick and Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Jennifer Lee Taylor and Matt Shimkus are matched as the argumentative and amorous couple Beatrice and Benedick in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s indoor season opener “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Artistic Director George Mount will stage the production set in a coastal resort area in 1953.

Taylor recently played Eliza Doolittle in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of “Pygmalion,” and Shimkus was Sir Andrew Augucheek in last summer’s “Gilligan’s Island” inspired Wooden O production of “Twelfth Night.”

Also cast in the “Much Ado About Nothing” company are Brenda Joyner (Hero), Jay Myers (Claudio), Peter Jacobs (Leonato), Jim Gall (Don Pedro), Nick Rempel (Don John), David Quicksall (Dogberry), Heather Persinger (Verges), Noah Greene (Borachio), Olivia Hartshorn (Margaret), Keith Dahlgren (Friar), and Bill Higham (Antonio).

“Much Ado About Nothing” runs Oct. 23 to Nov. 17. Tickets go on sale in mid-September.

Seattle Actor Profile – Jennifer Lee Taylor

A native of Seattle, Jen Taylor made her Seattle Shakespeare Company debut last season playing Imogen in Chamber Cymbeline. Now with Eliza in Pygmalion, she has a role that she’s been dying to play since she was a teenager.  “At 12 or 13 I went into this weird stage where I would only watch black and white movies, because modern movies offended my sensibility (she laughs). I have no idea what was going through my head. So my mother introduced me to the film of Pygmalion, and I just fell in love with it.  And then of course I watched My Fair Lady.  I started working on my cockney dialect.  And when I was 14 I got to play Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and it was because I was mimicking Pygmalion.  Yeah, Mrs. Beaver was my first attempt at Eliza Doolittle. (Laughs).

Reading

“You’re going to laugh!  Right now I’m reading Death Comes to Pemberley. I’m so embarrassed. It’s a murder mystery written by P.D. James who is a murder mystery novelist that I quite like.  And she’s a huge fan of Jane Austen, who is my favorite author.  And she has written a sequel to Pride and Prejudice that is a murder mystery. In all honesty, I’m only a couple of chapters in.  I can’t really speak to its value yet.  I bought it for my mom with the hope that I could then read it.”

Listening

“I’m always listening to Radiohead.  It’s sort of my music of choice. In all honestly, I don’t feel like I have a ton of time to sit down and listen to the radio, unless I’m in the car, and then I’m listening to KUOW or the classical station, with a little bit of pop thrown in there.”

Watching

(Laughs) “I don’t have a television.  I have a whole bunch of movies from SAG, because I’m a SAG member and they send you films to watch for the SAG awards, which I never got around to watching, so I’m excited to watch The Artist.  I really want to see that when I have a moment to myself.”

Earliest memory of wanting to be an actor

“I was always putting on little shows.  But I remember I saw a play at the Village Theatre that was their kids’ summer stage show, and I must have been 11.  They were doing Bye, Bye, Birdie, and it was the first time that I had the realization of “Wait a second! These are all kids doing this. I could do this!” It was the first time I had a real concept of that for some reason.  Movies with kids in it seemed really far away, not something that was real. And my mother took me to a lot of theatre, bless her. Thank you, Mom!  She took me to the opera. She took me to the ballet. She took me to a ton of theatre, but it never really stuck in my mind that kids could do it.  So it was the Village Theatre’s KidStage that I really realized that “What a second!  These are all kids!”  That’s probably when I had the clear notion that I could be on stage, I think.”

Looking forward to this theatre season

“I would really like to see my friend Angela DiMarco in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Seattle Public.  I am a fan of actors, so I want to go see their shows.  I want to see Nick Garrison’s show I Am My Own Wife at the Rep. I am also interested in Clybourne Park, which I don’t know much about.  I’m going to see The Bells at Strawberry Theatre Workshop.  And, once I close Pygmalion, I open up in Holy Days with New Century Theatre Company directed by Paul Stetler.”