Actress will play biologist in 'How'

Mercedes Ruehl will star in Sarah Treem’s world premiere two-hander “The How and the Why,” opening next month at the McCarter Theater.

The Princeton, N.J., regional also has awarded Ruehl the theater’s Sallie B. Goodman Prize, which goes to creatives who choose to work in the nonprofit legit sphere. Helmer George C. Wolfe won the inaugural edition of the prize last year.

Ruehl will star with Bess Rous in the play, about a biologist confronting a leading member of her field just prior to a major conference. Treem, a writer and producer on HBO’s “In Treatment,” also penned the Off Broadway outing “A Feminine Ending.”

Helmed by McCarter a.d. Emily Mann, “The How and the Why” begins preview Jan. 7 ahead of a Jan. 14 opening.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more