Legendary American actor Ellen Burstyn is to make her Australian stage debut in a new production of Moisés Kaufman’s play 33 Variations, which was nominated for Best Play at the 2009 Tony Awards.

Burstyn is known for performances in films such as The Exorcist, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The Last Picture Show, Requiem for a Dream and How to  Make an American Quilt,among many others. She also played a guest role in the Netflix hit House of Cards. During a six-decade career, she has received six Academy Award nominations, winning for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, seven Golden Globe nominations, winning for the film Same Time, Next Year – for which she also won a Tony Award when the original play had a Broadway season – and five Emmy nominations, winning twice. She was also a Co-Artistic Director of The Actor’s Studio in New York.

Ellen Burstyn. Photograph supplied

In  33 Variations Burstyn plays Katherine Brandt, a clever, terminally ill musicologist who is studying Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations – a piano work that riffs on a waltz by the Viennese music publisher Anton Diabelli, which Beethoven initially dismissed as “a cobbler’s patch”.

The action moves between past and present, between...