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Ed Begley Runs for President in 'November' Opening This Weekend

The Studio City resident is teamed with David Mamet once again.

Ed Begley Jr. spent Carmageddon II quietly studying at his Studio City home, learning his speeches as President of the United States.

Across the country, President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney were rehearsing at the same time. But, nothing can be as complex as a David Mamet play.

"It is so precise, it is so rhythmic, everything has to be exact," Begley told Studio City Patch. "You don't change a word, a comma, a hyphen of a David Mamet play, nor should you. I am constantly reading it over."

He loves playing the president during this hot political season, saying, "It is the most fun you could imagine."

Begley has worked with the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright before. In 1995, he did "The Cryptogram" in Boston, Los Angeles and New York, and later went on to play in "Romance" and Mamet's adaptation of "Faustus."

A six-time Emmy nominee for St. Elsewhere, Begley is joining Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman (Transamerica) on stage at the Mark Taper Forum that is opening Oct. 7. Huffman and Begley worked in Mamet's Cryptogram together as well.

Begley stars as Charles Smith, a U.S. President seeking re-election. The Desperate Housewives starlet Huffman plays his lesbian speechwriter, Clarice Bernstein. Ron McLachlan portrays the president's chief of staff.

Director Scott Zigler helms the play that will run through Nov. 4. The play debuted originally on Broadway in 2008 with Nathan Lane, Laurie Metcalf and Dylan Baker.

Meanwhile, Begley landed an upcoming fun role with the Christopher Guest menagerie of comic geniuses in an HBO documentary-style comedy series Family Tree.

The story follows 30-year-old Tom Chadwick (Bridesmaids' Chris O'Dowd) who is down on his luck, loses his girlfriend and his job and decides to expore his family roots. He inherits a strange box from a great aunt he never knew.

He meets Uncle Andy, played by Begley; and the neighbor played by Fred Willard. Michael McKean plays Tom's dad and Don Lake plays a friend of the young man's cousin.

Begley, Willard and McKean are regular staples in Guest's mockumentary features, all having appeared in For Your Consideration, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show and This Is Spinal Tap.

But for now, Begley is focused on his on-stage farce "November," where his character is not characterized as either Republican or Democrat.

Tickets run $20 to $65 at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave.. downtown. Call 213-628-2772 or centertheatregroup.org

Break a leg, Ed!

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