The season opener begins preview at Theatre Row Dec. 8 towards an opening set for Dec. 18. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through Jan. 31, 2004.
Johnston (The Women) and Taylor (Three Sisters) will star as the two title roles, respectively. Errico is also featured in the cast which includes Marcia Stephanie Blake (The Crucible), Liam Craig (Don Juan), Idris Elba, Carlos Leon, Emily Cass McDonnell (Shoppers Carried by Escalators into the Flames), Brooke Sunny Moriber (Follies), Maulik Pancholy, Stephen Park (The Karaoke Show) and Bill Sage.
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.
The design team for Aunt Dan and Lemon features Derek McLane (set), Jason Lyons (lighting), Eric Becker (costume) and Ken Travis (sound). Stephen Gabis serves as dialect coach and Vanda Jamison handles props.
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 directed by Marion McClinton (King Hedley II, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) 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 the renovated Theatre Row, 410 West 42 St., this season. For tickets, call (212) 239-6200. For more information, visit www.thenewgroup.org.