Much Ado About the Emmy

by Mark Burger

Being nominated is an honor, but winning’s even better.

The UNC-TV broadcast of the UNC School of the Arts’ School of Drama’s 2012 production of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing was awarded the Emmy Award in the arts programming category at the 28 th annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards ceremony, held last weekend in Nashville, Tenn.

“This is a huge accomplishment for UNCSA and for everyone who worked on the production,” said Katharine Laidlaw, the UNC School of the Arts executive producer, who accepted the award along with UNC-TV’s head of production, Shannon Vickery. “I was proud to accept the award on behalf of the students, faculty and staff, and our generous partners, the AJ Fletcher Foundation, the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund for the Arts, who helped fund the broadcast.”

The School of Drama’s stage production of Much Ado About Nothing, which featured Ari Itkin, Jackie Robinson and Jessica Richards, was presented March 29-April 7, 2012 on the UNC School of the Arts campus in Winston-Salem under the direction of faculty member Bob Francesconi, also assistant dean of the School of Drama. The UNC-TV broadcast aired statewide on April 9, 2013, and was directed by David Stern, who had previously helmed the award-winning televised production of UNCSA’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!Laidlaw produced the broadcast with former UNC School of the Arts chancellor John Mauceri, himself a two-time Emmy winner for broadcasts of his Hollywood Bowl Orchestra broadcasts in California. Mauceri also conducted the orchestra and was the music director and producer of the stage production. Michael Dwinell, a graduate of the UNC School of the Arts’ high school, college and graduate programs in music, served as assistant music director.

Director Stern was also named in the Emmy nomination, as was Andrew Young, a 2007 graduate of the School of Filmmaking, who edited the broadcast. Fellow alumnus Max King was the sound mixer.

“UNC-TV is honored to have a partner like the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and to have the ability to showcase the great work of the faculty, staff and students of UNCSA,” praised Vickery. “We look forward to many, many more collaborations.”

The School of Drama’s production also boasted the American premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s complete score — the first fully integrated production since Korngold’s music was outlawed by the Third Reich in 1933. Korngold, who was born in Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic), fled Europe and became an esteemed Hollywood composer, winning an Oscar for the rousing score of the adventure classic The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), then receiving successive nominations for The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) and The Sea Hawk (1940). Korngold, who died in 1957, was a mainstay at Warner Bros. for the duration of his Hollywood career. His other noteworthy scores include Juarez (1939), Kings Row (1942), Of Human Bondage (1946), Devotion (also ’46) and Deception (also ’46).

After suffering a heart attack in 1947, Korngold opted not to re-sign with the studio and returned to his first love, composing music for the stage. In 1999, he was one of six legendary Hollywood composers to be immortalized on a 33-cent US Postage stamp.

A new edition of Korngold’s score, produced in collaboration with Mauceri, was released last April by Toccata Classics.

The Emmy win for Much Ado About Nothing follows yet another accolade for the UNC School of the Arts — a National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) award for the 2011 production of Oklahoma!, which was aired on UNC-TV in October 2011 and April 2012. !