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Laura Linney to Return to Broadway in New David Auburn Play

Laura Linney will return to Broadway next spring, in a new play by David Auburn about a friendship that arises between two women during America’s bicentennial.

The play, called “Summer, 1976,” will be presented at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater by the Manhattan Theater Club, or M.T.C., which is one of four nonprofit organizations with Broadway houses. M.T.C. had previously announced plans to stage the play this fall, Off Broadway, but on Tuesday announced that Linney had agreed to lead the cast and that the production would now be delayed to spring and moved to Broadway.

Linney, 58, is well known for her work on film (“The Savages”) and television (“Ozark”); she has won four Emmy Awards had has been nominated for three Academy Awards.

She has returned often to the stage, performing in 12 previous Broadway productions, and has been nominated five times for Tony Awards. Her most recent Broadway role was in early 2020, just before the pandemic closed theaters, when she starred in the solo play “My Name Is Lucy Barton,” which was also produced by M.T.C.

Auburn, the playwright, is best known as the author of “Proof,” which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in drama, as well as the Tony Award for best play. That play was also produced on Broadway by M.T.C.

“Summer, 1976” will be directed by Daniel Sullivan, who won a Tony for directing “Proof,” and who also directed Auburn’s 2012 Broadway play, “The Columnist.” Sullivan has directed Broadway productions featuring Linney three times previously, including most recently a 2017 revival of “The Little Foxes.”

M.T.C. said that previews for “Summer, 1976” would begin April 4; it did not announce an opening date or other members of the cast. The organization described the new play as about an unexpected friendship between two Ohio women, “a fiercely iconoclastic artist and single mom” played by Linney, and “a free-spirited yet naïve young housewife.” The characters “navigate motherhood, ambition and intimacy, and help each other discover their own independence.”

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