The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Presents MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Closes 12/19

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Since 1985, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles has been a vibrant hub of unique programs and events designed to make Shakespeare accessible and engaging in Los Angeles. At last April's annual "Simply Shakespeare" fundraiser, Helen Hunt read the role of Beatrice in "Much Ado About Nothing."

She loved doing it so much that she was quickly in discussions to do the role in a full production with Shakespeare Center's Founder and Executive Artistic Director Ben Donenberg, who was wanting something special to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Shakespeare Center.

This production of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," which performs at the Kirk Douglas Theatre for 23 performances only from December 1 to 19, will be the first full-scale, indoor production presented by the Shakespeare Center (the press opening is December 12). Mr. Donenberg directs, and the production will feature music by Lyle Lovett.

The performing company of 17 actors and musicians will include Chris Butler, Ramon De Ocampo, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Grace Gummer, Helen Hunt, Tom Irwin, Brian Joseph, Greta Jung, Geoffrey Lower, Anthony Manough, Dakin Matthews, Stephen Root, Jared Sakren, FrEd Sanders, David Ogden Stiers, Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins. The choreographer is Julie Arenal. The set design is by Douglas Rogers, with lighting design by Trevor Norton, costume design by Holly Poe Durbin, and sound design by Adam Phalen.

When Donenberg went into the community to put this production of "Much Ado About Nothing" together, Center Theatre Group made a special arrangement for The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles to bring their first traditional proscenium production to one of city's premiere theatrical venues, the intimate 317 seat Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Tickets for Much Ado About Nothing ($35 to $70, premium tickets also available) go on sale Tuesday, October 26 by phone at 213-628-2772, and online at CenterTheatreGroup.org/MuchAdo. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Center Theatre Group box office (at the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles) or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre box office two hours prior to performances.

Director Ben Donenberg has set this production of "Much Ado About Nothing" on a fairy tale California vineyard. Donenberg said, "We are thrilled about Helen Hunt and Tom Irwin playing Beatrice and Benedick - they are both picture perfect to play these parts because they can so beautifully explore how two people with a rocky unresolved past can drop their defenses and pretenses, rediscover each other, and find a new way to love."

"They are a part of a stellar company of American actors that includes David Ogden Stiers, who appeared frequently in Shakespeare early in his distinguished career, Dakin Matthews one of our leading Shakespearian actors, Stephen Root who began his career touring the United States with National Shakespeare Company, and Sara and Sean Watkins, who are known for their incredible music and most recent appearances with Garrison Keillor on the NPR ‘A Prairie Home Companion.'
And finally, we think that Lyle Lovett's music will underscore the play exactly the same way the popular music Shakespeare selected to use way back when - and if you like a good grape stomping or know Lyle's song ‘She's No Lady, She's My Wife,' you can get a feeling for the fun we're going to have with one of Shakespeare's most unlikely weddings."

"Much Ado About Nothing" is made possible in part by support from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and The James Irvine Foundation.




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