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For Helen Hunt, spending the summer playing
Shakespeare on Broadway after winning the Academy
Award as best actress is pretty much...

AS GOOD AS IT GET

by Mervyn Rothstein

[[image - color photograph of Helen Hunt, NBC PHOTO BY:MICHAEL TIGHE]]

"Acting in Shakespeare makes you feel young," says Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning star Helen Hunt backstage at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, where she is appearing as Viola in Twelfth Night. "No matter how much acting you've done, the amount of discovering and investigating that lies ahead of you in a Shakespeare play is so great. I'm endlessly moved and surprised by how the play is at once greater than everyday reality and at the same time totally reflective of it."

Hunt's co-stars include Brian Murray, Kyra Sedgwick, Paul Rudd, Philip Bosco and Max Wright. The director is Nicholas Hytner, known on Broadway for Miss Saigon and the Tony Award-winning 1994 revival of Carousel, and on the movie screen for the Crucible and The Madness of King George.

"It's a dream part," Hunt says of Viola, a beautiful young woman shipwrecked on the seacoast of Illyria who dons male garb and disguises herself as an adolescent boy in the romantic comedy of gender confusion and mistaken identity. "I've always wanted to play her. And I love Nick Hytner's work. I got the part once in another theatre and couldn't do it because of a scheduling conflict. I was heartbroken. Viola has a sense of humor about herself. She is poetic and loving and funny, and she is perhaps more able to look at the world and her situation through clearer eyes than many of the other characters. I love exploring the role. You can spend an infinite amount of time exploring a Shakespearean character."

Hunt is known to television audiences as the sweet and smart Jamie Buchman, Paul Reiser's wife in the NBC sit-com "Mad About You," and to movie fans as the tornado-chas- [[text continued in another page]]

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Transcription Notes:
The titles of the works aren't italicized when they're supposed to.

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