Helen Hunt and a Cast of Celebrities Perform Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
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The last date listed for Much Ado About Nothing was Thursday December 16, 2010 / 8:00pm.
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Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Tuolomne Hiker
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Despite the stellar cast, this play was awful. Shakespeare is probably rolling in his grave. This production of "Much Ado" didn't know where it was set (CA vineyard in Appalachia, maybe?! and a mish mash of accents) or when it took place (WWI, WWII? today, who knows? - the costumes didn't give you a clue). The actors' abilities were mixed; Claudio was certainly mis-cast. Some of the actors projected very well; others mumbled. Much of the dialog was too quick and often I got the impression that some of the actors were struggling to remember their lines. It seemed that they barely rehearsed; you could actually see the actors look around to figure out where they should be standing. Actually, even if the play was well-rehearsed, it still would have been awful. Ben Donenberg has no business putting on a Shakespearean production; he doesn't know how to do it. Lyle Lovett's music was not integrated into the play. Basically, you had short music sets in between the acting. To tell the truth, the music didn't work at all. Maybe if the production were set in the south, it would have made sense but in a California vineyard? This production wasted the talents of many fine actors! The play was such a disappointment; particularly after the stellar performance of the "Merry Wives of Windsor" at the Broad Stage.
This was my first time at the Kirk Douglas Theatre but it won't be my last. The theatre is charming and I don't think there's a bad seat in the house.
Quotes & Highlights
- Lyle Lovett joins the cast on December 10, 2010!
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, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre for 23 performances, will be the first full-scale, indoor production presented by the Shakespeare Center. 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, Lyle Lovett Anthony Manough, Dakin Matthews, Stephen Root, Jared Sakren, Fred Sanders, David Ogden Stiers, Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins.
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.
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.
"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 lyric ‘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,” he added.
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.