Story by Jack Foley
HOLLYWOOD actor, Richard Dreyfuss, has been forced to withdraw
from the UK stage version of Mel Brooks' The Producers,
due to recent back surgery and a shoulder injury.
The star of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind announced
his decision on Monday (October 18, 2004), just one month before
the play was due to open in the West End.
He will be replaced, however, by Nathan Lane, who will reprise
the role he played so memorably during the sell-out Broadway run.
Fifty-six-year-old Dreyfuss was due to have played the role of
Max Bialystock in the production, alongside stand-up comedian,
The play centred upon the duo as
they bid to create the worst musical ever written - only to see
it become a runaway success.
The role would have required Dreyfuss to sing, dance and, at
one point, do both with a chorus line.
But in a statement released this week, the star admitted it had
become difficult 'to fulfil the rigours of the role', due to the
fact he was suffering from a recurring shoulder injury and the
effects of surgery for a herniated disc, in January.
The statement concludes: "The producers are grateful to
Mr Dreyfuss for his artistry and all his work on their behalf,
and hope that he will be able to rejoin the company when his physical
The Producers is still due to open at the Theatre Royal
Drury Lane on November 9, with Lane booked to appear
temporarily until January 8.
For many theatre buffs, Lane's presence may even provide more
of a treat than that of Oscar-winner, Dreyfuss.
Lane won a Tony award for his portrayal of Bialystock following
the Broadway run, in which he co-starred with Matthew Broderick.