The upcoming Broadway revival of “The Heiress” has found its Catherine Sloper: Jessica Chastain, who received critical acclaim for film performances last year as a snubbed southern wife in “The Help” and as a nurturing young mother in “The Tree of Life,” will play the title role in the 1947 play to be directed by Moises Kaufman (“33 Variations”), the producers announced on Thursday.
Ms. Chastain will be making her Broadway debut as the plain-looking daughter who exacts revenge on her overbearing father; Cherry Jones last played the role on Broadway 17 years ago, in a performance that earned her the Tony Award for best actress in a play. Ms. Chastain is a graduate of the Juilliard School with some notable theater credits, such as Desdemona opposite John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the 2009 Off Broadway production of “Othello” and the title role in Oscar Wilde’s “Salome,” with Al Pacino, in Los Angeles. In recent weeks she has earned several critics’ and industry awards and nominations for “The Help,” “The Tree of Life,” and another 2011 film, “Take Shelter” with Michael Shannon.
Mr. Kaufman, in a statement, described Ms. Chastain as “a great actress with chameleon-like prowess and enormous emotional intelligence,” adding, “I think she’s one of the best actresses of her generation.”
The revival of the play by Ruth and Augustus Goetz will be mounted by the film producer Paula Wagner, who is said to be seeking new projects in theater, and the Broadway producers Roy Furman and Stephanie P. McClelland (who worked together on “The Book of Mormon,” “The Addams Family,” and “The History Boys”). No theater, additional casting information or performance schedule has been announced.