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Jessica Chastain Leads Broadway's THE HEIRESS, Fall 2012; Moises Kaufman Helms

Acclaimed actress Jessica Chastain, winner of 2011 New York, Los Angeles and Chicago Film Critics and National Board of Review Awards and recently nominated for Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards, will make her Broadway debut starring in the Tony Award®-winning play The Heiress.

Written by Ruth Goetz & Augustus Goetz, The Heiress will be directed by Tony Award® nominated playwright and director Moisés Kaufman and will open in the Fall of 2012 at a theatre to be announced.

The Heiress will be produced by Paula Wagner, Roy Furman and Stephanie P. McClelland. This production marks 17 years since the celebrated play was last seen on Broadway. The Heiress is based on the classic Henry James novel Washington Square and became an Academy Award-winning film. The dramatic and suspenseful play features one of the great female roles written for the stage.

A Juilliard graduate, Ms. Chastain’s stage work includes the title role of Salome, opposite Al Pacino in the 2006 Los Angeles staging of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, Othello at The Public Theatre and Rodney’s Wife at Playwright’s Horizons.

Ms. Chastain has recently been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for her performance as “Celia Foote” in The Help. Her work in The Tree of Life and Take Shelter has garnered critical acclaim and multiple awards as Best Actress from the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Chicago Film Critics Association.

Ms. Chastain has also been seen this year in The Debt opposite Helen Mirren and Coriolanus opposite Ralph Fiennes.

Says Paula Wagner: “I was immediately struck by Jessica's talent and skill when I saw her on stage opposite Al Pacino in Salome. She is an actress with that rare ability to transition effortlessly between the stage and screen. Moisés Kaufman had the vision to see Jessica as the perfect actress to play one of the great psychologically complex female characters."

Moisés Kaufman is a two-time Tony Award®-nominee as author of 33 Variations, which he also directed on Broadway starring Jane Fonda, and as director of the Broadway production of I Am My Own Wife for which he won an Obie Award and also received Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel nominations. His play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde earned him a Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway play as well as a Joe A. Callaway Award for Best Director. And his film of his play The Laramie Project earned him two Emmy nominations (writing and directing) as well as a National Board of Review Award and a Humanitas Prize.

Says Moisés Kaufman: “Jessica Chastain is a great actress with chameleon-like prowess and enormous emotional intelligence; I think she's one of the best actresses of her generation. I'm thrilled to be working with her on The Heiress.”

The original production of The Heiress, suggested by the Henry James novel Washington Square, premiered on Broadway in 1947 at the Biltmore Theatre. The 1949 Academy Award winning movie version was adapted from the play by the Goetzes, and was directed by William Wyler, starring Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift and Ralph Richardson.

---Jessica Chastain (Catherine Sloper) has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most sought after actors of her generation. Born and raised in Northern California, Chastain attended the Juilliard School in New York City. While there she starred in Romeo and Juliet and went on to receive glowing reviews for her performances in The Cherry Orchard opposite Michelle Williams at Williamstown, and Richard Nelson’s Rodney’s Wife opposite David Strathairn off-Broadway at Playwright’s Horizons. Chastain can most recently be seen starring opposite Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in the drama Tree Of Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick for River Road Productions. The story concerns the loss of innocence as seen through the eyes of the son of the characters played by Chastain and Pitt. The film was shot in Texas in early 2008 and released in May 2011. Chastain also stars as the female lead in Miramax’s The Debt alongside Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington. Chastain is an Israeli Mossad agent sent on a mission to apprehend the WWII Nazi surgeon from the concentration camp who tortured Jewish prisoners. Production took place in Budapest and Tel Aviv. Chastain will also be seen in Ami Mann’s upcoming feature film, Texas Killing Fields. This psychological thriller is based on true events that took place in a small Pennsylvania town in 1973. In this project Jessica will star alongside Sam Worthington and Chloe Moretz. Chastain recently wrapped production on Dreamworks’ adaptation of the best-selling Kathryn Stockett novel The Help playing Celia Foote, an insecure Southern lady constantly trying to fit in with the high society women who reject her. The story centers on black maids working in white households in the early 1960s in Jackson, Miss. Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer are among the cast. The film released in August 2011. Chastain recently wrapped production on Wettest County, opposite Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy. The film was directed by John Hillcoat and produced by Doug Wick. Chastain has also been seen playing the character Virgilia in Coriolanus, a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. The film, shot in Belgrade, Serbia in 2010, also stars Gerard Butler and Ralph Fiennes. This film is set to release in 2011. In 2009, Jessica played the role of Desmonda in the classic play Othello opposite Phillip Seymor Hoffman. Directed by Peter Sellars, the project ran beginning in Vienna, then Germany and finishing in New York. At the senior class Juilliard showcase, Jessica landed a coveted talent deal with Emmy award winning executive producer and writer John Wells, the show runner of “E.R.”, “West Wing” and producer of White Oleander. After completing a pilot for John Wells and director PJ Hogan (My Best Friend’s Wedding), Jessica returned to the stage in the Los Angeles Wadsworth Theatre production of Salome, where Academy Award Winners Estelle Parsons (director) and Al Pacino hand-picked Jessica to play the title role of Salome opposite Pacino. Continuing the collaboration, producer Barry Navidi commenced the film version of Salome entitled Wild Salome directed by Al Pacino, where they filmed behind the scenes and portions of the play’s production. Chastain’s stage work in Salome received enormous critical attention and led to her landing the dynamic title role in Jolene in the Dan Ireland directed production opposite Rupert Friend, Frances Fisher, Dermot Mulroney and Michael Vartan. This adaptation of the E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime) short story Jolene depicts a young woman’s odyssey of relationships over the course of ten years. Chastain won the Best Actress Award at the 2008 Seattle Film Festival for this role. In 2011, Chastain received several nominations and awards for her recent work including the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for the Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter. Chastain is also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress for Take Shelter. Chastain currently lives in California.

Ruth Goetz & Augustus Goetz (Playwright) collaborated on many Broadway plays, such as Franklin Street (1940); One Man Show (1945); The Heiress (1947), which was loosely suggested by Henry James’ novel Washington Square; The Immoralist (1954), an adaptation from the novel by Andre Gide; and The Hidden River (1957), an adaptation of a novel by Storm Jameson. The Goetzes also collaborated on the following films: The Heiress (Academy Award, 1949), Sister Carrie (1950), Rhapsody, Trapeze and Stagestruck. Mrs. Goetzes is the sole author of two plays: Sweet Love Remembered (1959), written after her husband’s death in 1957; and Madly in Love (1963). The daughter of theatrical producer Philip Goodman, her early training was in costume and set design. The Goetzes were active members of the Dramatists Guild. Their daughter Judy Firth Sanger is a poet and frequent reference source for productions of The Heiress. Their granddaughter Katie Firth is an actress working in New York. All four generations would be and are delighted to see the Slopers back on Broadway.

MOISÉS KAUFMAN (Director). Broadway: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (director), 33 Variations (writer & director; Tony nomination Best Play, Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award); I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright, (Obie Award, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel nominations). West End: Gross Indecency (writer & director, Gielgud Theatre), I Am My Own Wife (Duke of York Theater), This Is How It Goes by Neil LaBute (Donmar Warehouse). Off-Broadway/Regional: One Arm (Tectonic Theater Project/The New Group); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Kirk Douglas Theater, Mark Taper Forum); The Laramie Project (writer and director; Theater In The Square, Drama Desk nomination); The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later (writer & director; Alice Tully Hall); Gross Indecency: The Three Trials Of Oscar Wilde (writer & director; Lucille Lortell Award for Best Play, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play and the Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction); Macbeth with Liev Schreiber (Delacorte Theater); One Arm by Tennessee Williams (Steppenwolf Theater Company); Master Class with Rita Moreno (Berkeley Repertory Theater); El Gato Con Botas (New Victory Theater); Film/TV: “The Laramie Project” (HBO, 2 Emmy nominations for writing & directing, Opening Night Selection at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, National Board of Review Award, the Humanitas Prize, Special Mention the Berlin Film Festival); “The L Word.” He is the Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project and a Guggenheim Fellow in Playwriting.

Paula Wagner (Producer) has worked in the top ranks of the entertainment industry as a talent agent, film producer and studio executive. Wagner spent 15 years as a talent agent at Creative Artists Agency. She has produced over 20 feature films including the Mission: Impossible film trilogy, The Last Samurai, Vanilla Sky and The Others, and served as Chief Executive Officer of United Artists Entertainment from 2006 to 2008. Most recently, Wagner executive produced the critically-acclaimed Lifetime original movie “FIVE.” Wagner serves on the Board of Trustees of Film Forum in NY, the National Film Preservation Foundation through the Library of Congress, and Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her degree and is an adjunct faculty member. She is also a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Among many awards and honors as a producer, she received the Sherry Lansing award from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization. Prior to Wagner's career as an agent and producer, she began as an actress and performed both on and off-Broadway. Wagner is a published playwright, co-authoring "Out of Our Father's House". She was also a member of the Yale Repertory Company. Wagner currently develops theatre, film, and television projects through her company, Chestnut Ridge Productions.

Roy Furman (Producer). Currently represented on Broadway by The Book of Mormon (Tony Award); War Horse (Tony Award); Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Seminar and Relatively Speaking. Other productions include West Side Story, The Addams Family, La Bete, Gypsy, Spamalot (Tony Award), The Color Purple, History Boys (Tony Award), All My Sons. Co-founded investment firm Furman Selz, now Vice Chairman Jefferies & Company and chairman of Jefferies Capital Partners, its private equity arm. Vice Chairman of Lincoln Center and Chairman Emeritus Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Stephanie P. McClelland (Producer) is the founder of Green Curtain Productions (GCP) and her work has been honored with six Tony and six Drama Desk Awards. Credits include: The Book of Mormon, Arcadia, Jerusalem, La Bete, Red, The Addams Family, A Behanding in Spokane, Ragtime, Hamlet, All My Sons, Sunday in the Park with George, Cyrano, Journey’s End, Coram Boy, Butley, The History Boys, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Color Purple, Spamalot, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Pillowman, Democracy, Jumpers. Ms. McClelland serves on the boards of The Juilliard School, London’s Donmar Warehouse, and the American Associates of The National Theatre.

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