Jennifer Jason Leigh Hosts Abigail's Party for New Group Opening Dec. 1 | Playbill

News Jennifer Jason Leigh Hosts Abigail's Party for New Group Opening Dec. 1
Jennifer Jason Leigh stars in Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party which officially opens The New Group's new Off-Broadway season Dec. 1.

New Group artistic director Scott Elliott (the upcoming Barefoot In The Park, The Threepenny Opera) stages the work that began Nov. 14 at Theatre Row's Acorn Theater for a limited run scheduled through Jan. 7, 2006.

Abigail's Party centers on two dinner and cocktail parties transpiring at neighboring suburban London homes. It was first produced in London in 1977 at the Hampstead Theatre and then became more 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.

Joining her in the cast are Max Baker (Comedians, What the Butler Saw), Lisa Emery (Hot 'n' Throbbing, The Women), Darren Goldstein (Intimate Apparel, Terrorism) and Elizabeth Jasicki (When Harry Met Sally, As You Like It).

The design team for Abigail's Party features Derek McLane (set), Jason Lyons (lighting), Eric Becker (costumes) and Ken Travis (sound). Stephen Gabis will serve as the dialect coach. Playwright Leigh has penned and directed both plays and films including his Academy Award-nominated "Vera Drake," "Topsy-Turvy" and "Secrets & Lies." His stage works include Ecstasy, Smelling A Rat, Goose-Pimples, Babies Grow Old, Greek Tragedy and It's A Great Big Shame and Two Thousand Years — which is currently running at London's National Theatre.

Busy director Elliott is next slated to direct the upcoming Broadway stagings of Barefoot in the Park and The Threepenny Opera (a new translation by Wallace Shawn) later this season. The founding artistic director of The New Group previously directed Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon and Shawn (as an actor) in Hurlyburly for his company. Other credits include The Women, Three Sisters, Present Laughter, Kiki & Herb: A Coup de Theatre, The Women of Lockerbie, Comedians and Smelling a Rat.

The New Group's 10th Anniversary season will continue with Wallace Shawn and Allen Shawn's world premiere play-opera The Music Teacher, to be directed by Tom Cairns (who directed Shawn's "Marie and Bruce" film). Next up will be Seth Zvi Rosenfeld's Everything's Turning Into Beautiful starring Bobby Cannavale (Hurlyburly) and Annabella Sciorra (Roar). This year's New Group (naked) presentation will be A Spalding Gray Matter — which explores the titular star's tumultuous life — performed by its author Michael Brandt and directed by Ian Morgan.

Tickets to Abigail's Party at The New Group @ Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Ave.) are available by calling (212) 279-4200. For more information on The New Group, visit the website at

From Left: Lisa Emery, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Elizabeth Jasicki in <i>Abigail's Party</i>.
From Left: Lisa Emery, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Elizabeth Jasicki in Abigail's Party. Photo by Carol Rosegg

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