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Jennifer Westfeldt Returns to New York Stage

The Tony-nominated actress will star as a brilliant adventurer seeking acceptance into an exclusive British old-boys' circle in Nell Benjamin's play "The Explorers Club."

Jennifer Westfeldt
Gregorio Binuya/Evertt Collection

NEW YORK -- Jennifer Westfeldt has joined the ensemble cast for Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere off-Broadway production of Nell Benjamin's madcap comedy The Explorers Club.

Set in London in 1879, the play will star Westfeldt as a brilliant female explorer who has discovered a legendary Lost City. However, despite her credentials, a proposal for her to join the venerable men-only institution that gives the play its title causes a crisis to erupt, with ripples that threaten to shake the foundations of the British Empire. The ineptitude of the club's current bartender makes matters worse.

Lorenzo Pisoni appears alongside Westfeldt as the acting president pushing for her character's admission. Theater veteran John McMartin also stars, along with Brian Avers, Max Baker, Steven Boyer, Arnie Burton, Carson Elrod and David Furr.

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Directed by Marc Bruni, whose production of Old Jews Telling Jokes is a still-running off-Broadway hit, The Explorers Club will begin previews May 28 at New York City Center Stage I, with an official opening set for June 20.

Playwright Benjamin is best known as co-composer and lyricist (with Laurence O'Keefe) of Legally Blonde: The Musical.

Westfeldt made her Broadway debut in the 2003 revival of Wonderful Town, landing a Tony nomination for best featured actress in a musical. Her most recent New York stage appearance was in the 2009 off-Broadway production of Cusi Cram's play A Lifetime Burning.

A screenwriter and director as well as an actor, Westfeldt first gained attention in the 2001 feature Kissing Jessica Stein, which she also co-wrote. She made her debut as writer-director in 2011 on Friends With Kids, an ensemble relationship comedy released last year by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions. Westfeldt starred in that film opposite her longtime offscreen partner Jon Hamm, along with Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd and Kristen Wiig.

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