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Margulies will join Robards in Baitz play

Thesp could join Huston in TNT's 'Avalon'

“ER” star Julianna Margulies, who will leave TV’s top-rated drama in May, is near a deal to join Jason Robards in the lead role of “Ten Unknowns,” a new play by Jon Robin Baitz that will open at Lincoln Center on Feb. 26, 2001 and run through April 15.

In the play, Robards plays a reclusive painter who, early in his career, was deemed one of 10 up-and-coming artists to watch — the Ten Unknowns. Staying true to his work, he doesn’t go the commercial route and instead fades into obscurity in Mexico. Margulies’ character is sent down to Mexico to study soon-to-be-extinct frogs in a lake near the painter’s home. They meet and she becomes something of a muse to the painter, as well as his lover, at a time when the artist is being wooed to do a show in New York and regain his prominence. Baitz wrote the piece especially for Robards.

Margulies has starred in “ER” since its inception; part way through season six, she turned down a two-season extension worth $27 million. She decided instead to concentrate on features and plays. She’s expected to join Anjelica Huston in “The Mists of Avalon,” a TNT pic that’s the biggest the network has undertaken. After that, she’ll likely book a feature before making her Broadway bow.

She is repped by ICM’s Steve Dontanville and AMG’s Aleen Keshishian.

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