FESTEN with Bryggman, Hayden, MacGraw and Margulies Begins Previews March 23 and Opens April 9 at Music Box Theatre

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Bill Kenwright and Marla Rubin announce that they will present the Almeida Theatre production of FESTEN, the hugely successful London play about a family with a dark secret, on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre (239 W. 45th St.), with performances beginning Thursday, March 23. Larry Bryggman, Michael Hayden, Ali MacGraw and Julianna Margulies have been cast in the Broadway production. Directed by Rufus Norris, in a dramatization by David Eldridge from the Danish 1998 film, FESTEN will have its official press opening on Sunday, April 9.

In FESTEN, a beloved patriarch (Larry Bryggman), surrounded by his wife (Ali MacGraw), his daughter (Julianna Margulies), his two sons (Michael Hayden as Christian; casting for the role of Michael to be announced shortly) and a host of family and friends, is celebrating his 60th birthday at his country home. This promises to be a very special occasion, but as the evening progresses, the man's eldest son, Christian, feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a family secret. Standing to propose a toast, he offers his father - much to the delight of the guests - an amusing yet simple choice. And so the games begin. Revelations and accusations tumble across the dinner table, paving the way for a celebration that no one will ever forget.

In London, FESTEN received a rapturous reception from critics and audiences alike. Michael Billington in the Guardian called FESTEN, "a landmark play, as overwhelming as anything on the London stage." Susannah Clapp in the Observer said that the play was "dramatic dynamite, one of the most outstanding theatrical occasions of the year." Nicholas de Jongh in the Evening Standard said that FESTEN, "brings serious glory to the West End." Paul Taylor in the Independent called it, "phenomenally brilliant, and an embodiment of what theatre should be." And Victoria Segal of the London Sunday Times said, "FESTEN is a thrilling modern tragedy – electrifying, shocking and profoundly moving. It crackles with pure theatrical energy."

In addition to Mr. Bryggman, Mr. Hayden, Ms. MacGraw, Ms. Margulies and the additional leading actor still to be announced, the cast of FESTEN will feature Diane Davis, Keith Davis, David Patrick Kelly, Stephen Kunken, Carrie Preston and C.J. Wilson, with additional ensemble members to be announced shortly.

The Almeida's original creative team for FESTEN, led by director Rufus Norris, will reassemble in New York to mount the play on Broadway. FESTEN features set design by Ian MacNeil (Billy Elliot, The Musical, An Inspector Calls), costume design by Joan Wadge, lighting by Jean Kalman, original music by Orlando Gough and sound design by Paul Arditti. As well as being nominated for five Laurence Olivier Awards, Rufus Norris won the Evening Standard and Critic's Circle Awards for Best Director. Ian MacNeil, Jean Kalman and Paul Arditti won the Evening Standard Award for Best Design.

Thomas Vinterberg's Festen (or The Celebration, as it was called when released in the U.S.) is the modern movie classic that put the Danish film movement Dogme 95 on the cultural map. FESTEN, the dramatization by David Eldridge of the Dogme film and play by Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov and Bo Hr. Hansen, received its world premiere at London's Almeida Theatre in March 2004 in association with Marla Rubin. It was subsequently presented by Marla Rubin and Bill Kenwright at the Lyric Theatre in the West End.

FESTEN will begin previews at the Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street, on March 23 and will have its official press opening on Sunday, April 9. The performance schedule will be, from March 23 – April 9: Tuesdays at 7PM, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, with matinees on Wednesdays & Saturdays at 2 PM, Sundays at 3 PM; and then, after April 9: Mondays at 8 PM, Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, with matinees on Wednesdays & Saturdays at 2 PM. Tickets are $95-$75-$30, and will be available through Telecharge, 212-239-6200 or www.telecharge.com, beginning February 26 (please note: VISA cardholders can begin purchasing tickets on February 12). The Music Box Theatre box office will open on February 27.

BIOS:

Larry Bryggman was most recently seen on Broadway in 12 Angry Men. His other Broadway credits include Proof (Tony nomination), Picnic (Tony nomination), Prelude to a Kiss, Richard III with Al Pacino, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and Ulysses in Nighttown. His off-Broadway credits include Henry IV, Parts I and II, Coriolanus, Macbeth (NYSF/Public Theater); Hothouse, Once in a Lifetime (Atlantic Theater Company); Proof, New England (Manhattan Theatre Club); Prelude and Liebestod (MCC); A Bad Friend and Bodies, Rest and Motion (Lincoln Center Theatre); and Roulette. His film credits include Spy Game, Die Hard With a Vengeance, And Justice for All, Looking for Richard, and My Side of the Story. Mr. Bryggman earned two Daytime Emmys for Best Actor on "As The World Turns."

Michael Hayden appeared in the acclaimed Lincoln Center revival of Henry IV. His other Broadway credits include Judgment at Nuremberg (Tony nomination), Enchanted April, Cliff in Sam Mendes' Cabaret and Billy in the Royal National Theatre/Lincoln Center production of Carousel, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Other New York credits include Chris in All My Sons at the Roundabout and Sparky in Far East at Lincoln Center. Regional credits include Christy in Playboy of the Western World at the Guthrie; Chance in Sweet Bird of Youth at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C.; and Frank in Merrily We Roll Along, part of the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His television credits include "Murder One," "Law & Order," "Hack" and PBS's "Far East." He received an American Film Institute Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Billy in Charming Billy.

Ali MacGraw earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role as Jenny in the 1970 film Love Story opposite Ryan O'Neal. Her other film credits include Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus, The Getaway opposite Steve McQueen, and Sidney Lumet's Just Tell Me What You Want, among others. She co-starred in the acclaimed mini-series "The Winds of War" on ABC, as well as the television films "Survive the Savage Sea" and "China Rose." She is the author of the memoir Moving Pictures.

Julianna Margulies is perhaps best known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Nurse Carol Hathaway on the critically acclaimed television series "ER." She received six straight Emmy nominations and two Screen Actor Guild Awards for Best Actress for her role on the series. Mostly recently she was seen on stage in New York in Intrigue with Faye at MCC with Benjamin Bratt and Ten Unknowns at Lincoln Center with Donald Sutherland (Lucille Lortel Award). Her other theatrical credits include The Vagina Monologues (Off-Broadway/LA premiere), Fefu and Her Friends (Yale Rep.) and Book of Names (Ensemble Studio Theatre). Her film and television credits include Ghost Ship, Evelyn, The Man From Elysian Fields, What's Cooking, The Newton Boys, A Price of Rubies, Paradise Road and "The Mists of Avalon."

Diane Davis was recently seen in Mother of Invention at the Williamstown Theater Festival (Dir., Nicholas Martin). Her television credits include "Filthy Gorgeous" (Showtime), "All My Children," "Another World," "As The World Turns," and "Law and Order." She is a recent graduate of the NYU Graduate Acting Program.

Keith Davis was most recently seen in last season's Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington. Other theatre credits include Richard III (Yale Rep), Our Lady of 121st Street (Steppenwolf), The Train Play (Clubbed Thumb), As You Like It (Worth Street Theatre) and An Ice Cream Man for All Seasons (Young Playwrights Festival). His television and film credits include "Guiding Light," "Law & Order," "Third Watch," "Law & Order: SVU," The Arrangement and De Dominee.

David Patrick Kelly most recently appeared in Ghosts at Classic Stage Company. His Broadway credits include Twelfth Night, Uncle Vanya, The Government Inspector and Working. His Off-Broadway credits include The Three Sisters, Lobster Alice, The Cure, Film Is Evil/Radio Is Good, The Mind King, Henry VI and Kit Marlowe. Recent films include Personal Velocity, K-Pax, In Too Deep, Last Man Standing, Flirting with Disaster and The Funeral. Mr. Kelly was awarded an OBIE for Sustained Excellence.

Stephen Kunken played the role of Hal in Proof on Broadway with Anne Heche and later toured with the production. His Off-Broadway credits include Arrangements (Atlantic Theatre Co.), Fabulation (Playwrights Horizons), The Story, Henry VIII, The Dybbuk (Public Theater), and Misalliance (Roundabout Theater). His regional credits include My Andy (New York Stage and Film), Proof (Seattle Rep.), and Jerusalem (Cleveland Playhouse). Mr. Kunken is a 2004 Fox Fellowship recipient and a 1996 John Houseman Prize winner.

Carrie Preston can currently be seen in the movie Transamerica with Felicity Huffman. Her Broadway credits include The Rivals (Dir., Mark Lamos), The Tempest (Dir., George C. Wolfe) and Indiscretions (Dir., Sean Mathias). Her Off-Broadway credits include Antony and Cleopatra (Dir., Vanessa Redgrave), Boys and Girls (Dir., Gerald Gutierrez) and Chaucer in Rome (Dir., Nicholas Martin). Her other film credits include Stepford Wives, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Mercury Rising and My Best Friend's Wedding.

C.J. Wilson was recently seen in the acclaimed Lincoln Center production of Henry IV with Kevin Kline. His other Broadway credits include Long Day's Journey Into Night and Gore Vidal's Best Man. Other theater credits include Race (Classic Stage Company), Home of the Brave (Jewish Rep.), and Stop Kiss, The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Public Theatre/NYSF). His film and television credits include "Without a Trace," Showtime's "The Hill," Campfire Stories, "Third Watch," "Law and Order," "Deadline" and "Ed." He is a 2003 Fox Foundation Grant recipient.

David Eldridge (Playwright). His theater credits include Serving it Up, A Week With Tony, Summer Begins, Falling, Under the Blue Sky (Time Out Live Award for Best New Play in the West End), and M.A.D. His short plays include Cabbage for Tea, Tea, Tea!, Fighting for Breath, and Thanks Mum. For film and television, his credits include "Killers" and The Nugget Run. David was Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre Studio (1997) and the Soho Theatre / TBWA - GGT (2002). His adaptations include The Wild Duck, recently seen in an acclaimed production at the Donmar Warehouse.

Rufus Norris (Director) His most recent production for the Almeida Theatre was Blood Wedding, which starred Gael Garcia Bernal. At Christmas 2005 he directed the acclaimed production of Tintin in Tibet for the Young Vic (also adaptation, with David Greig). Currently, he is the Associate Director at the Young Vic where his credits include Peribanez, Sleeping Beauty and Afore Night Come (Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer). For the Royal Court, his credits include Under the Blue Sky, About the Boy, and Workers Writes. His other theatrical credits include Blood Wedding ((Almeida), Two Women (Soho Theatre), Small Change (Sheffield Crucible—Peter Brooke Empty Space Award), Small Craft Warnings (Pleasance Theatre), The Measles (The Gate), and The Tempest (Arts Threshold). His opera and music credits include Tall Stories (nominated for a Manchester Evening News Award), Shawna and Ron's Half Moon and Pierrot.

Ian MacNeil (Set Design) recently designed Billy Elliot, The Musical. He received a Tony nomination for An Inspector Calls on Broadway. For the National Theatre, he designed Albert Speer, Machinal (Critics' Circle Award), and An Inspector Calls (also West End and International - Critics' Circle Award, Olivier Award for Best Design). For the Royal Court, he designed Death and the Maiden, Via Dolorosa (also Broadway/West End), Far Away (also New York Theatre Workshop), Plasticine and A Number (both received Evening Standard Award for Best Designer). His opera credits include Tristan and Isolde (Olivier Award for Best Opera), Der Freischutz, Ariodante (English National Opera) and La Traviata (Paris Opera).

Joan Wadge (Costume Design). Her design credits include A Number, Plasticine (Royal Court), Afore Night Come (Young Vic) and Albert Speer (National Theatre). She designed The Love Potion for the Pegasus Opera Company. Her television credits include "The Human Face," "Adventures of the Worst Witch," "Heaven on Earth," "The Phoenix and the Carpet," "Ivanhoe," "Henry VI" (BAFTA Nomination for Best Costume Design), "The House of Elliot" (1st series - BAFTA Award for Costume Design, EMMY nomination for Costume Design), "Old Times," "Summer's Lease," and "All Passion Spent."

Jean Kalman (Lighting Design). His theatre credits include The Beautiful Game (London), Waste Land, Powerbook (National Theatre), Lucky Dog, Blasted (Royal Court), The Magic Flute (Glyndebourne), and Le Petit Prince, Baghdad Café, Britannicus (Paris). His opera credits include Fidelo (also set design, Glyndebourne), Turn of the Screw (also set design, Royal Opera House), The Magic Flute (also set design, Opera North), Diary of One Who Vanished (also set design, English National Opera/National Theatre), and Eugene Onegin (Metropolitan Opera).

Paul Arditti (Sound Design) recently designed the sound for Billy Elliot, The Musical. His New York credits include Pillowman, The Chairs (Drama Desk nomination), The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Four Baboons Adoring The Sun (Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Sound Design), Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya (also at Donmar) and Far Away (Lucille Lortel Award nomination/Royal Court). His other design credits include Pillowman (National Theatre: 2004 Olivier Award nomination for Best Sound Design), My Brilliant Divorce, Auntie and Me, Doctor Doolittle (West End), Crestfall (Gate, Dublin: Irish Times Theatre Awards 2004 nomination Judges' Special Award), Cymbeline (RSC), and Some Voices, Mojo, The Weir (Royal Court).

Orlando Gough (Music) was a founding member of the bands The Lost Jockey and Man Jumping. His recent work includes Peribanez (Young Vic), The Public Good (English National Opera) and The House Will Burn (choreographed by Ashley Page for the Royal Ballet). With the composer and singer Richard Chew, he started the 16-piece choir The Shout. Orlando directs the choir, which last year toured its music-theatre piece Tall Stories to venues in England, Europe and America.

DOGME Original Film & Play By:

Thomas Vinterberg was born in Copenhagen in 1969 and enrolled at the National Film School of Denmark in 1989. He graduated in 1993 and his graduate film, Last Round, was nominated for an Oscar in 1994. In 1995/1996 he directed his first feature film Heroes, and founded the Dogme 95 Movement together with the Danish director Lars von Trier. His second feature film Festen premiered in 1997 and received numerous prizes including: Prix du Jury, Cannes International Film Festival, Best foreign language picture, L.A and N.Y. Critics Award, Prix de l'Avenir du Cinema European Best foreign language picture and Independent Spirit Award USA.

In 2001/2002 he directed his third feature film It's All About Love followed by Dear Wendy in 2004/5.

Mogens Rukov was born in 1943 and has been working at the Danish Film School since 1975. He considers himself basically a teacher and the most important film people in Denmark are students of the Film School. He is known as the Godfather of the new Danish film and has co-written a range of Danish films including: Vinterberg's Festen, Soren Kragh Jacobsen's Mifune, Ole Christian Madsen's A Love Story, Lars von Trier's The Idiots and Christoffer Boe's Reconstruction, which won a Camera d'Or.

Bo hr. Hansen was born in Copenhagen in 1961. In the 1980s he wrote poems and played in the punk band, 'Cinema Noir.' From 1980-86 he studied at the Danish Journalists High School and in 1992 he earned his degree from the script department of The National Film School of Denmark. In 1989 Hansen wrote his first play, Sugar Town. In 1991, with Soren Fauli, he wrote The Screaming Throats, which became a cult-success. From 1993-96 Hansen wrote several film scripts with director Thomas Vinterberg including The Greatest Heroes (1996). During the same year, Hansen returned to writing for the stage with an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Traveling Companion. His latest stage and film scripts include the prizewinning children's film Wallah Be and Someone Like Hodder and the Christmas television special Jesus and Josefine.

Bill Kenwright (Producer). New York productions include Primo, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the Tony Award-winning A Doll's House, Medea (starring Diana Rigg), Dancing at Lughnasa, Complicite's production of The Chairs, An Ideal Husband (directed by Peter Hall), Drama Desk winner Travels With My Aunt and the long-running production of Willy Russell's Blood Brothers, which he also directed (Tony Award nomination for Best Director). His recent London productions include The Big Life, Elmina's Kitchen, Man and Boy, Festen, We Happy Few, Judi Dench in All's Well That Ends Well (RSC), The Taming of the Shrew and The Tamer Tamed (RSC), The Secret Rapture, Tell Me on a Sunday, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the RSC Jacobean Season at the Gielgud Theatre, Home and Beauty, Via Dolorosa, Sleuth, The Constant Wife, Dangerous Corner, Star Quality, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Ghosts, Caught in the Net, Barbara Cook Sings Mostly Sondheim, Gondoliers, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Fallen Angels, Brief Encounter, Miss Julie, Song at Twilight, Stepping Out - The Musical, Hurlyburly, Pygmalion, Lady Windermere's Fan, Shakespeare for My Father, Passion, Company, Design for Living, The Roy Orbison Story, The Miracle Worker, Harold Pinter's No Man's Land and Moonlight, Dead Guilty and the Peter Hall productions of An Ideal Husband, Mind Millie for Me, The Master Builder, A Streetcar Named Desire, School for Wives, Hamlet, An Absolute Turkey, Lysistrata, Separate Tables, She Stoops to Conquer, Waiting for Godot, Filumena, The Misanthrope and Major Barbara. His directorial credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Whistle Down the Wind, Jesus Christ Superstar and Blood Brothers, now in its seventeenth year in London. His films include The Day After the Fair, Stepping Out, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Charles Busch's Sundance Festival Award-winner Die Mommie Die and the recently completed The Purifiers. He also co-produced the arena tour of Elvis: The Concert with Elvis Presley Enterprises. His honors include an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool's John Moore's University, an Honorary Professorship at Thames Valley University in London, The Variety Club Bernard Delfont Lifetime Achievement Award and a CBE from HM Queen Elizabeth II. He is Chairman and major shareholder of Everton Football Club (and an even bigger fan)!

Marla Rubin (Producer). As her first theatrical venture, Canadian born Marla Rubin produced the Almeida Theatre Company's production of Festen, introducing the groundbreaking initiative of bringing the Danish film collective Dogme 95 to the stage. Her film and television credits as a Producer include the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Museum of Tolerance (Academy Award to Museum), Crimes of Violence (Emmy Award, Direction), America Undercover, The Democrats, Hollywood Babylon, Honky and Space Cadets. Marla Rubin's other television projects include work for HBO, CBS, the Public Broadcasting System and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2006 she will continue to work with Dogme and other leading Scandinavian filmmakers bringing further cinematic productions to the stage, as well as collaborating on other ongoing international theatre projects.

The Almeida Theatre reopened its Islington Home on May 8th 2003, under the Artistic Directorship of Michael Attenborough. Michael joined the Almeida in 2002 after 5 years as Director of Hampstead Theatre and 12 years with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Next year the Almeida Theatre will celebrate its 25th birthday. The company was founded in 1980 by its first Artistic Director Pierre Audi. From 1990-2002 it was under the Joint Artistic Directorship of Ian McDiarmid and Jonathan Kent. Since reopening in 2003, the Almeida has presented the world premiere of Antony Sher's I.D, and many European premieres including Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat and Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, which also transferred successfully to the West End. The Almeida's most recent West End transfer was Richard Eyre's award-winning production of Hedda Gabler. Alongside its productions, the Almeida has embarked upon a new program of work - Almeida Projects. Almeida Projects aims to bring new audiences to the theatre, by enabling collaboration between professional artists and community partners (of all ages), enabling the theatre to be as accessible as possible to the widest number of people. Artists whose work has appeared at the Almeida since its reopening include John Mahoney, Trevor Nunn, Natasha Richardson, Antony Sher, Nancy Meckler, Sinead Cusack, John Hannah, Michael Attenborough, David Calder, Helen McCrory, Damian Lewis, Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Page, Pam Gems, Neil LaBute, Edward Albee, Rufus Norris, Jonny Lee Miller, Jane Asher, Sebastian Barry, Robert Delamere, Kathryn Hunter and Claire Bloom. In New York, productions presented by the Almeida Theatre Company include Kevin Spacey in The Iceman Cometh, Ralph Fiennes in Hamlet, Diana Rigg in Medea and, most recently, Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things.

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