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Jane Fonda to star in ’33 Variations’

Moises Kaufman to write, direct production

Jane Fonda will topline an upcoming Broadway production of “33 Variations,” the latest play written and directed by Moises Kaufman.

Planned for early 2009, show will mark Fonda’s first Rialto appearance since “Strange Interlude” in 1963.

Production joins a season in which star-driven stagings of plays — “All My Sons,” “Equus,” “The Seagull” — have largely done robust biz even in an atmosphere of increasing economic uncertainty.

Show will be produced by David Binder (“Frost/Nixon,” “Legally Blonde”), who was lead producer of the hit 2004 production of “A Raisin in the Sun” that starred Sean Combs.

“Variations” centers on a musicologist (Fonda) investigating Beethoven’s seemingly inexplicable interest in another composer’s second-rate waltz, which inspired him to pen 33 variations on it.

Production by the Tectonic Theater Project, of which Kaufman is a.d., includes an onstage pianist.

“Variations” reps a Broadway writing debut for Kaufman, who penned and directed Off Broadway hits “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” and “The Laramie Project.” He also helmed Doug Wright’s “I Am My Own Wife,” which transferred from Off Broadway to the Rialto in late 2003.

“Variations” was developed in association with D.C.’s Arena Stage, where it bowed in fall 2007 in a production that starred Mary Beth Peil. Earlier this year, Jayne Atkinson toplined another incarnation at La Jolla Playhouse.

Further cast, designers, Gotham venue and exact dates remain to be confirmed.

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