Janeane Garofalo is headlining the world premiere of the New Group’s production of Erika Sheffer’s Russian Transport, set to open Off-Broadway in January.
New Group Artistic Director Scott Elliott will direct the play about a family living in a Russian-Jewish enclave in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Garofalo, 47, plays Diana, the mother of the immigrant family, who must contend with the influence of a mysterious Uncle Boris (Morgan Spector) on her two rebellious, fully assimilated, teens.
Sarah Steele plays daughter Mira, Raviv Ullman plays son Alex and Daniel Oreskes plays the father, Misha.
Boris arrives from the old country to stay with the family while he tries to establish himself in America and that’s where the mischief begins.
Garofalo is best known for comedic roles in touchy-feely film 1990ss like “Reality Bites,” “The Truth About Cats & Dogs,” and “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.”
She also had a run in the 1990s on “Seinfeld” as Jerry’s girlfriend. They charactrs were so much alike they ended up falling in and out of love.
The play will mark her first dramatic turn on stage, although she’s appeared Off-Broadway before in Love, Loss and What I Wore, a collection of intimate stories by Norah and Delia Ephron.
She told The New York Times she was “as surprised as anyone” about getting the part, especially because it calls for her to speak Russian and she doesn’t know the language.
“The character is a Russian immigrant who speaks Russian so I double-checked that that was the part I was supposed to do,” she said.
Oreskes has appeared in Broadway’s Billy Elliot and The Miracle Worker. Off-Broadway, he’s played in Roar and Terrorism.
Spector has appeared on Broadway’s A View from the Bridge, and Off-Broadway’s Speech and Debate.
Tickets go on sale Dec. 5 and the show goes into previews at the Acorn Theater in Manhattan on Jan. 17. It’s official opening is Jan. 30.