NEW YORK -- "True Blood" star Chris Bauer is going to be sinking his teeth in a new play in New York.
The Atlantic Theater Company said Thursday that Bauer will star in a production of "What Rhymes With America" a new work by Melissa James Gibson.
Bauer, who also was on NBC's "Third Watch" and the Billy Crystal movie "61 (asterisk)," said in a phone interview from Los Angeles that he was desperate to hit the stage again.
"I've told my children to think of this as though I'm going for a lifesaving operation," he said. "The opportunity to work on a play from the ground up in my favorite theater with all new people, makes me feel like there's a real potential for reinvigoration."
The cast also includes Aimee Carrero, who currently stars on the Cartoon Network live-action series "Level Up"; Seana Kofoed, on Broadway in "Proof" and "Night Must Fall"; and Da'Vine Joy Randolph, who earned a Tony Award nomination for "Ghost: The Musical."
It will be directed by Daniel Aukin, who recently staged Joshua Harmon's play "Bad Jews" and Sam Shepard's "Heartless" off-Broadway and "4000 Miles" by Amy Herzog at Lincoln Center. Previews of "What Rhymes With America" begin Nov. 19. The play opens Dec. 12.
Bauer, a company member of the Atlantic Theater Company, has appeared in three Jezz Butterworth's plays at the Atlantic -- "The Night Heron," "Parlour Song" and "Mojo."
Bauer, 45, plays Detective Andy Bellefleur in "True Blood" and is known for his role as union boss Frank Sobotka on the TV series "The Wire." He made his Broadway debut in "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 2005.
Bauer said the new play is about a father's attempt to connect with his estranged daughter. All the characters, he said, "are desperately trying to connect and have an impact on their world, and no one's noticing." Gibson, a staff writer on the FX show "The Americans," also wrote the play "This."
Bauer was last onstage in 2010 doing David Mamet's "Romance" at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. Though it had a short run, "it was long enough for me to see how totally out of shape I was," he said laughing.
"There's a level of fitness that's required to give an audience what they deserve. You just do not get the strength in those muscles on television."