Manhattan Theatre Club is pleased to announce Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht (Harvey, A View From The Bridge, Brighton Beach Memoirs) and Tony and Emmy Award winner Judith Light (Other Desert Cities, Lombardi, “Ugly Betty”) will star on Broadway in the world premiere of THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES, a new play by Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out, The American Plan, Three Days of Rain) directed by MTC’s award-winning Artistic Director Lynne Meadow (Wit, Collected Stories, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife).
The limited engagement will begin previews Tuesday, March 19, 2013 and open Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street).
Hecht recently appeared in the hit revival of Harvey opposite Jim Parsons. Hecht received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role in the 2009 revival of A View From the Bridge and, earlier that season, received critical acclaim for her role in the revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs. Her numerous television and film credits include: “Breaking Bad,” “Seinfeld,” and “Friends.”
Light most recently won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her work in Other Desert Cities and a Tony nomination for her performance in the 2010 production of Lombardi. Her other theatrical credits include Wit, both Off-Broadway and the national tour, for which she won Helen Hayes and Elliot Norton Awards. Her television credits include her Emmy nominated roles on “Ugly Betty” and “Who’s The Boss.” She won two Emmys for her work in the ABC daytime drama “One Life to Live.”
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES welcomes us to the world of the Bascovs, an Upper West Side Jewish family in 1980. In a sprawling Central Park West apartment, former movie star Julie Bascov and her sister-in-law Faye bring their families together for their traditional holiday dinner. But tonight, things are not usual. A house guest has joined the festivities for the first time and he unwittingly – or perhaps by design – insinuates himself into the family drama. Twenty years later, as 2001 approaches, the Bascovs’ seemingly picture-perfect life may be about to crumble. A stunning new play infused with humor, THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES is an incisive portrait of a family grasping for stability at the dawn of a new millennium.
Greenberg returns to MTC following the acclaimed Broadway revival of his play The American Plan. MTC’s collaboration with Greenberg spans 20 years and has seen the New York premieres of such lauded works as The Violet Hour, Three Days of Rain, and Eastern Standard. This production marks MTC’s 10th collaboration with Greenberg.
Additional casting and creative team for THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES will be announced in the coming weeks.
RICHARD GREENBERG (Playwright) is the author of Take Me Out (Tony Award for Best Play; Drama Desk Award; New York Drama Critics Circle Award; Outer Critics Circle Award; Lucille Lortel Award), which received an acclaimed production on Broadway after successful runs at The Donmar in London’s West End and The Public Theater in New York City. Other works include The House in Town, The Violet Hour, The Dazzle (Outer Critics Circle Award: John Gassner, Lucille Lortel nomination), Everett Beekin, Three Days of Rain (L.A. Drama Critics Award; Pulitzer finalist; Olivier, Drama Desk, Hull-Warriner nominations; Broadway revival starring Julia Roberts), Hurrah at Last, Night and Her Stars, The American Plan, Life Under Water and The Author’s Voice, among many other plays. His adaptation of Strindberg’s Dance of Death was seen on Broadway starring Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren and David Straithairn. He is writing the book for a musical version of Todd Haynes’s film Far From Heaven and has adapted Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the stage. Greenberg received the Oppenheimer Award for a new playwright as well as the first PEN/Laura Pels Award for a playwright in mid-career. He is an associate artist at South Coast Repertory and a member of Ensemble Studio Theater.
LYNNE MEADOW (Director) has been the visionary and artistic leader of Manhattan Theatre Club since 1972, creating work that has put the company at the forefront of the American theatre. Lynne has overseen hundreds of world, US and New York premieres; directed dozens of new plays on and off Broadway by America’s and England’s finest playwrights; and accepted every major theatre award (Tonys, Drama Desks, Obies, etc.) on behalf of the company.
Her most recent Broadway directing credits include the premiere of Margaret Edson’s Wit (Tony nomination); Donald Margulies’ Collected Stories (Tony nomination); Charles Busch’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (Tony nomination); Alan Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business; Off Broadway and MTC: Donald Margulies’ The Loman Family Picnic; Alan Ayckbourn’s award-winning Woman in Mind and Absent Friends; the Obie Award-winning Ashes by David Rudkin; Charles Busch’s Our Leading Lady; David Greig’s The American Pilot; Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias; Marsha Norman’s Last Dance; David Edgar’s The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs; Principia Scriptoriae; Lee Blessing’s Eleemosynary; Biography; Simon Gray’s Close of Play and Sally and Marsha.
Some of the world and New York premieres produced under her artistic direction include Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters; Lynn Nottage’s Ruined (Pulitzer Prize); Alfred Uhry’s LoveMusik suggested by the letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya; John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play); Donald Margulies’ Sight Unseen (Pulitzer Prize finalist) and Time Stands Still; David Auburn’s Proof (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play) and The Columnist; August Wilson’s King Hedley II; David Lindsay-Abaire’s Fuddy Meers, Rabbit Hole (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award nomination for Best Play) and Good People; A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia; Terrence McNally’s Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony Award for Best Play) and Lisbon Traviata; Charlayne Woodard’s Pretty Fire; Athol Fugard’s Playland; Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together; Richard Greenberg’s Eastern Standard; Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart (Pulitzer Prize) and The Miss Firecracker Contest; the Fats Waller musical, Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Lynne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr, and attended the Yale School of Drama. She taught at Yale, Fordham, NYU, etc. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including, the 2003 Mr. Abbott Award, the Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, the Person of the Year from National Theatre Conference, the Margo Jones Award, and this past spring The Lucille Lortel Award for lifetime achievement and The Lilly Award for Lifetime Achievement.
JESSICA HECHT (Julie) was recently seen on Broadway starring opposite Jim Parsons in Harvey and on film in The Magic of Belle Isle with Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen, directed by Rob Reiner. She will next be seen in The English Teacher, a comedy with Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear and Nathan Lane and Northern Borders, an independent film. Recent releases include her portrayal of the famous anarchist ‘Emma Goldman’ in J. Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio for director Clint Eastwood and Warner Brothers, as well as The Sitter, playing Jonah Hill’s mother, for 20th Century Fox.
Her other films include Helena From the Wedding, an ensemble drama from Beech Hill Films, and appearances in Fair Game with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, The Winning Season opposite Sam Rockwell and My Soul to Take directed by horror master Wes Craven. She also appeared with Larry David in Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, Dan in Real Life with Steve Carrell, Starting out in the Evening with Frank Langella, Sideways directed by Alexander Payne with Paul Giamatti, The Forgotten with Julianne Moore and The Grey Zone directed by Tim Blake Nelson.
Hecht’s television work is extensive and most recently includes the HBO pilot “Spring/Fall.” She performed a recurring role opposite Ted Danson on “Bored to Death” as well as a recurring role on the Emmy-nominated cable hit “Breaking Bad” (AMC) opposite Bryan Cranston. Well known for her five season recurring role as ‘Susan’ on “Friends” (NBC), she starred with Jonathan Silverman in “The Single Guy” (NBC) and with Joan Cusack in “What about Joan?” (ABC) created by James Brooks. Equally adept in drama or comedy, her many memorable performances include appearances on “The Good Wife,” “Nurse Jackie,” “CSI,” “Medium,” “ER,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Seinfeld” and “Jesse Stone: Thin Ice” with Tom Selleck.
Hecht completed her eighth season at the world famous Williamstown Theatre Festival where she performed as ‘Blanche’ opposite Sam Rockwell’s ‘Stanley’ in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by David Cromer. Hecht is proud to have been nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for her performance as ‘Beatrice’ in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge in which she starred with Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johanssen. Her other Broadway credits include the revival of Neil Simon’s award-winning play Brighton Beach Memoirs, Arthur Miller’s After the Fall, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar opposite Denzel Washington and the world premiere of the Tony Award-winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Her many Off-Broadway starring roles include Three Sisters with Maggie Gyllenhaal (Classic Stage Co.); Make Me (Atlantic Theater); The House in Town (Lincoln Center); Stop, Kiss (The Public); Lobster Alice and Plunge (Playwrights Horizons); Flesh and Blood (N.Y. Theater Workshop) and The Fourth Sister (Vineyard Theatre).
Hecht lives in New York with her husband, Adam Bernstein, and two wonderful children, Stella and Carlo.
JUDITH LIGHT (Faye). In June of 2012, Light was awarded the prestigious Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Other Desert Cities. She also won a Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress for the same play. Written by Jon Robin Baitz, Other Desert Cities is centered on a daughter played by Rachel Griffiths who presents her family with a memoir she is about to publish. Light played the role of Silda Grauman, the alcoholic aunt who is known to make snide remarks.
Light was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play in 2011, for her performance in Lombardi, the American play by Academy Award winner Eric Simpson. Directed by Tony nominee Thomas Kail, the play was based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by Pulitzer-winning author David Maraniss. Light stared in the play as Marie Lombardi alongside Dan Lauria who played sports icon Vince Lombardi.
Light’s television career began with her two-time Best Actress Emmy award-winning turn as Karen Wolek on “One Life to Live.” She then went on to play Angela Bower on the hit comedy series “Who’s the Boss?” Up until 2010, she was seen on the Emmy Award-winning ABC-TV series “Ugly Betty,” for which she received an Emmy nomination playing the character of Claire Meade. Simultaneously, she co-starred on NBC’s long-running drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” in the recurring role of Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Donnelly. Light has also starred in “Phenom” (created by James Brooks), “The Simple Life,” created by long-time manager/producer Herb Hamsher, “The Stones” (created by Max Mutchnick, David Kohan, and Jenji Kohan) and in over 15 television movies, including her role as Ryan’s mother, Jeanne, in “The Ryan White Story.”
Light has starred in three independent films, The Shoemaker with Danny Aiello; Ira & Abby by Jennifer Westfeldt, with Robert Klein, Fred Willard and Frances Conroy – which was voted Best Comedy at the 2007 HBO Comedy Festival; and Save Me with Chad Allen and Robert Gant, a film which she also produced with Herb Hamsher through their production company, Tetrahedron Productions, in conjunction with GKE and Mythgarden Productions. Save Me had its U.S. premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, followed by screenings at both NYC’s NewFest and LA’s Outfest, as well as a screening and panel discussion aboard RSVP Vacations Queen Mary II transatlantic crossing. Save Me was released theatrically nationwide in the summer of 2008 by First Run Features.
In 2005, Light returned to her performing roots in theater, opening at MCC in New York in the production of Laura Wade’s Colder Than Here. Light showcased her musical abilities in 2004 in the role of Joanne in Steven Sondheim’s Company at the Freud Theatre in L.A. as part of Reprise! Light also appeared in Athol Fugard’s Sorrows and Rejoicings in 2002 at the Second Stage Theatre in New York and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
In 2001, Light opened in Washington, D.C. at the Shakespeare Theatre Company portraying the title character in the Henrik Ibsen classic Hedda Gabler. In 1999 she also took to the stage at the Union Square Theater, starring as the brilliant and uncompromising Dr. Vivian Bearing in the critically acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize winning Off-Broadway play Wit. Originally directed by Derek Anson Jones, Wit is a heartbreaking and at times very funny play about how Dr. Bearing copes with ovarian cancer, and how it transforms her and her views of life. A university professor who has always treasured her independence and lack of personal connections, Dr. Bearing is forced to change her stance when she undergoes radical chemotherapy. Light performed in New York until January 2000 and then toured with Wit nationwide, in such cities as Boston, Washington (at the Kennedy Center) and San Francisco. For her outstanding performance, Light received the Helen Hayes Award in Washington, D.C., as well as the Elliot Norton Award in Boston.
A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA, Light has worked in repertory theaters throughout the United States and Canada as well as a USO Tour of Guys and Dolls with William Atherton and Paula Wagner throughout Europe. Light’s Broadway debut was in A Doll’s House with Liv Ullmann and was followed by a season at the Eugene O’Neil Playwright’s conference.
Light is a board member and advocate for many organizations and charities representing AIDS-related and Human Rights issues including: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Names Project/The AIDS Memorial Quilt, The National AIDS Memorial Grove, CDC’s Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS, Hollywood Health and Society, Faith in America, Project Angel Food, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, The Point Foundation, The Rome Chamber Music Festival and The Trevor Project.
Light lives in New York and Los Angeles and is married to writer/actor, Robert Desiderio.