When: May 28-30, 8 p.m., Sat., May 30, 2 p.m., June 4-6, 8 p.m. and Sat., June 6, 2 p.m. 2015
William Shakespeare’s love story Much Ado About Nothing receives the modern treatment in Gritty City Repertory’s latest production at The Flight Deck (1540 Broadway, Oakland). Set in 1973, this translation of the classic comedy is complete with disco music, bellbottoms and funky dance routines. Staying true to the play’s source material, two love stories unfold on stage when Don Pedro (Dashawn Franklin), Benedick (Marques Conerly), and Claudio (Maurice Jones) visit their old friend, Leonata (Nidia Pacho), after returning from war. The romantic Claudio soon rekindles his courtship with Leonata’s daughter, Hero (Emmanuelle Rickman-Baker), while Benedick tries to reconcile his mixed feelings toward Beatrice (Ayah Dominique), Leonata’s niece. Hilarity ensues when a match-making scheme pairs the latter couple together, allowing for this lighthearted romp to take a more jovial look at court politics and deceit. Founded in 2012, Gritty City focuses on enriching the lives of Oakland youth by engaging them in performing arts. Executive Artistic Director Lindsay Krumbein founded the nonprofit after witnessing the subpar theater programs at some East Bay schools, and has since directed six well-received productions featuring talented young casts.