"Maria Full of Grace" Oscar Nominee Moreno to Star with Broderick in Starry Messenger

News   "Maria Full of Grace" Oscar Nominee Moreno to Star with Broderick in Starry Messenger Catalina Sandino Moreno, the actress best known for her 2005 Academy Award-nominated performance in "Maria Full of Grace," will star opposite Matthew Broderick in The New Group's upcoming Off-Broadway world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's The Starry Messenger.

Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno

Previews will start in October, a production spokesperson confirmed to Playbill.com, but no exact dates have been set. Lonergan himself will direct the work.

According to playwright Lonergan, the play "follows an astronomy teacher whose midlife crisis is thrown into relief by an unexpected affair that changes everything. It's set in 1995, the last year before the [Hayden] planetarium — one of the great NYC institutions — was torn down."

The Colombian-born actress earned a 2005 Academy Award nomination (among other accolades) for her role as a pregnant teen that becomes a drug mule in "Maria Full of Grace." Moreno has also appeared on film in Ethan Hawke's "The Hottest State" as well as "Paris, je t'aime," " Love in the Time of Cholera," "Che" and "Fast Food Nation."

On the inspiration for The Starry Messenger, Lonergan reveals that the work "dates back to an astronomy course at The Hayden Planetarium that Matthew Broderick and I took as high school students growing up in New York City." He penned the new play specifically for Broderick.

Broderick has teamed with Lonergan previously on the films "You Can Count on Me" and the forthcoming "Margaret." The actor, who won Tony Awards for his turns in Brighton Beach Memoirs and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, was last seen on Broadway in The Philanthropist. Other credits include The Producers, The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues, Night Must Fall and Torch Song Trilogy. His various film credits include "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Glory," "The Cable Guy," "Election," "The Lion King" (in voice) and "Then She Found Me." The Starry Messenger marks Lonergan's return to New York stage since 2001's Lobby Hero. Other works include The Waverly Gallery, This Is Our Youth and the screenplays to "Gangs of New York" and "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle."

The New Group season will continue in January with a revival of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, directed by Hawke and the world premiere of the new musical The Kid based on the book by Dan Savage. New Group artistic director Scott Elliott will stage the latter penned by Andy Monroe (music), Jack Lechner (lyrics) and Michael Zam (book).

Subscriptions to the season of The New Group at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street (between 9th & 10th Ave.), are available by calling (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit TheNewGroup.org.