Leigh in Leigh's Party, Shawn and Shawn's Music Teacher Slated for New New Group Season

News   Leigh in Leigh's Party, Shawn and Shawn's Music Teacher Slated for New New Group Season Jennifer Jason Leigh will star in Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party as part of The New Group's new season Off-Broadway which will also include the Wallace Shawn-Allen Shawn world premiere play-opera The Music Teacher.
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh Photo by Aubrey Reuben

New Group artistic director Scott Elliott will stage the work by Leigh (Smelling a Rat, Naked, "Vera Drake") for his company's 2005-2006 season beginning previews in November at Theatre Row. More casting is yet to be announced. Abigail's Party which centers on a dinner party gone awry, and was first produced in London in 1977 at the Hampstead Theatre. It then became popular through the BBC television adaptation. The work was recently revived in 2002 at the New Ambassador's Theatre, earning a nomination for an Olivier Theatre Award for Best Revival of 2002.

Actress Leigh (no relation to the British scribe) has appeared on Broadway in Cabaret and Proof. She is best known for her film work appearing in such movies as "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Rush," "Single White Female," "Dolores Claiborne," "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" and "The Anniversary Party" — which she co-wrote and co-directed with co-star Alan Cumming.

In February 2006, the Off-Broadway troupe will again team with actor-playwright Wallace Shawn on the world premiere of The Music Teacher. Shawn pens the new work billed as a "play-opera" which features music by his brother Allen Shawn. Casting and director are to be announced.

Shawn has collaborated with director Elliott as an actor on Hurlyburly, as a playwright for the revival of his Aunt Dan and Lemon and for the new adaptation of The Threepenny Opera to be presented on Broadway next season. Other plays Shawn has penned include Marie and Bruce, The Designated Mourner, The Fever and Thought In Three Parts.

For more information on The New Group, visit the website at http://www.thenewgroup.org.

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