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Lyle Lovett joining Helen Hunt in cast of 'Much Ado About Nothing'

December 2, 2010 | 10:05 am

Lovett The upcoming Los Angeles production of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," starring Helen Hunt, is getting another celebrity cast member, organizers said Thursday. Singer-songwriter (and occasional screen actor) Lyle Lovett will be joining the company cast, having already signed on as a composer for the production.

"Much Ado About Nothing," produced by the Shakespeare Center of L.A., began performances at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City on Wednesday, with an official press opening Dec. 12. The limited-run engagement is set to close on Dec. 19 after 23 performances.

Organizers said that Lovett will only appear in the production starting Dec. 10. Lovett is joining a company of 18 performers that includes Hunt, Grace Gummer (daughter of Meryl Streep), Tom Irwin, David Ogden Stiers, Dakin Matthews, Stephen Root and more.

A spokesman for the production said that Lovett will play the singing role of Balthasar, an attendant to Don Pedro. Hunt will play the role of Beatrice opposite Irwin's Benedick. Gummer will take the role of Hero.

Lovett has written a handful of new songs for the play, and will be recycling some old ones as well, according to the spokesperson for the show. The production will also feature music by Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is directed by Ben Donenberg, who is placing the Shakespeare comedy in a California vineyard setting. The staging will feature live music, including Lovett's song "She's No Lady," performed by on-stage musicians.

The new production is part of a celebration of the Shakespeare Center of L.A.'s 25th anniversary. The play is being presented by a special arrangement with L.A.'s Center Theatre Group.

Lovett has earned multiple Grammy awards throughout his career, primarily in the country music genre. His acting career took off in the '90s thanks to director Robert Altman, who cast him in movies including "The Player," "Short Cuts," "Ready to Wear" and "Cookie's Fortune."

-- David Ng

Photo: Lyle Lovett. Credit: Sundance Channel

RELATED:

Hunt Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles to stage 'Much Ado About Nothing' starring Helen Hunt and Tom Irwin

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