New Group artistic director Scott Elliott will direct the work which runs Dec. 9-Jan. 25, 2004 with an official opening Dec. 18.
Shawn's best known play, Aunt Dan and Lemon is set in London and centers on the relationship between the young, sickly Lemon (short for Leonora) and her brutally candid, Kissinger-worshipping Aunt Dan (short for Danielle). Through a combination of straight scenes and politically horrifying, but hilarious monologues, Shawn trains a magnifying glass on civilized society and the uncivilized things it tacitly permits its leaders to do, so that its comforts may be kept in place.
Johnston, known for her turn in NBC's alien comedy "Third Rock from the Sun," recently made her Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Women. The statuesque actress has also appeared Off-Broadway in Twelfth Night, The Skin of Our Teeth, Baby Anger, The Lights and Five Very Live.
Film actress Taylor has been seen in "Mystic Pizza," "I Shot Andy Warhol," "High Fidelity," and the current "Casa de Los Babys" as well as her recent turn on HBO's "Six Feet Under." The actress has played on Broadway in Three Sisters and more recently Off-Broadway in MCC Theatre's The Dead Eye Boy.
The 1985 New York premiere at the Public Theater starred Kathryn Pogson as Lemon, Linda Hunt at Dan, longtime Shawn collaborator Larry Pine and Shawn himself. Shawn's other works include Marie and Bruce, recently rumored for a Second Stage revival, and The Designated Mourner, given a New York production a few seasons back with Shawn and Pine in the cast.
The New Group will then present the world premiere of Betty Shamieh's Roar in March 2004. Roar explores the disrupted lives of a Palestinian-American family living in Detroit when a Kuwaiti relative is exiled and arrives at their home. The work is set following the first Gulf War. A third play will be announced at a later date.
The New Group — which just came off a successful season with its co-production with the Vineyard Theatre, Avenue Q transferring to Broadway — will make its new home at West 42nd Street's renovated Theatre Row this season. For more information, visit www.thenewgroup.org.