New Group artistic director Scott Elliott (The Threepenny Opera) stages the work for his Off-Broadway troupe which began performances Sept. 20 and has already extended its run at The Acorn Theater in Theatre Row through Dec. 9.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is based on the Muriel Spark 1962 novel, which also was adapted by Allen for the 1969 film (starring Maggie Smith) and a television series. The drama follows an unconventional teacher as she comes to a Scottish girls' school in the 1930's.
The title role has proven a fruitful challenge for actresses: Zoe Caldwell won the Tony Award for the original Broadway incarnation, Vanessa Redgrave earned a London Theatre Critics Award for her turn in the debut and Maggie Smith took home the Academy Award for the film version.
Featured in the ensemble are Emily Bicks, Ritchie Coster (Beauty of the Father), Lisa Emery (Abigail's Party), Betsy Hogg (Fiddler on the Roof), Zoe Kazan ("The Savages"), Caroline Lagerfelt (Lend Me a Tenor), John Pankow (Twelve Angry Men), Caity Quinn, Matthew Rauch (Propsosals), Sarah Steele ("Margaret") and Halley Wegryn Gross (Hurlyburly - in the role Nixon played in the original run).
The design team includes Derek McLane (set), Jason Lyons (lighting), Eric Becker (costumes) and Daniel Baker (sound). The production will feature original music by Tom Kochan. Stephen Gabis serves as dialect coach. Nixon won a Tony Award for her turn in the Broadway run of David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole. The actress known to many for her television role as Miranda on the HBO series "Sex and the City," grew up on the New York boards. Her double duty on Broadway's Hurlyburly and The Real Thing (appearing simultaneously in both shows) is legendary theatrical trivia. She earned her first Tony Award nomination for Indiscretions. Her more recent credits include The Women, String Fever and The Country Club.
Elliott directed the recent Broadway revivals of The Threepenny Opera and Barefoot in the Park. He reteams with Nixon who starred in his 2001 Broadway revival of The Women for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Other credits include Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon, Three Sisters, Present Laughter, Kiki & Herb: A Coup de Theatre, The Women of Lockerbie, Comedians and Smelling a Rat. A one time performer, he appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables and Ain't Broadway Grand.
Tickets to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at Theatre Row's Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42 (between Ninth and Tenth Ave>) can be purchased by calling (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit the company's website at http://www.thenewgroup.org.