Bening, according to a press announcement, will star in Joanna Murray-Smith's The Female of the Species, which will begin previews at a theatre to be announced April 11 and officially open April 28. Recent Spring Awakening Tony winner Michael Mayer will direct the six-character play, which is being produced by David Richenthal and Mary Beth O'Connor. The play, according to press notes, will cast Bening as "Margot Mason, a feminist literary giant suffering an extreme case of writer's block as deadline after deadline comes and goes on her next book. When a young fan arrives unexpectedly at her country home, Margot's world slowly and comically begins to unravel as family and friends show up and debate the virtues of her best-sellers, her inconsistent world view, and her decidedly un-motherly touch."
Mayer and Bening, The New York Times reports, have been looking for a joint project for awhile. Mayer told the Times, "Over the years we've done this dance together of trying to find something to do. . . . When I read the play, I had her in my mind reading it. It's a beautiful part for her."
Mayer describes the character Bening will play as "a kind of monster, but amazingly articulate and witty and passionate and impetuous . . . . [and] sexy and glamorous and self-destructive and demanding and complicated and mercurial."
The play — by the author of Honour — will have an out-of-town tryout at Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse Feb. 5-March 16, 2008.
On Broadway Annette Bening starred in Coastal Disturbances, earning a Theatre World Award and a Tony nomination for her performance. She was Oscar-nominated for her roles in "Being Julia," "American Beauty" and "The Grifters."