A May 3 posting on the Michael Crawford International Fan Association website, which is "officially authorized and sanctioned by Michael Crawford," reads, "Michael has just informed us that he has decided he will not be reprising the role of Count Fosco in the American productions of The Woman in White."
Crawford departed the London production earlier in 2005 due to illness and was succeeded in the role by Michael Ball. Ball continued to play Count Fosco through April 30. Anthony Andrews took over the role May 2.
The Woman in White features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by David Zippel and a book by Charlotte Jones. The remainder of the creative team comprises William Dudley (set and costume design), Paul Pyant (lighting design), Mick Potter (sound design), Wayne McGregor (dance and movement) and Simon Lee (musical supervisor). The musical — co-starring Maria Friedman and Michael Ball — began previews at the newly refurbished Palace Theatre Aug. 28, 2004, with an official opening Sept. 15. Trevor Nunn directs.
Prior to its Broadway arrival in spring 2006, The Woman in White will play a pre-Broadway engagement at Chicago's LaSalle Bank Theatre (previously the Shubert Theatre) Nov. 15, 2005-Jan. 8. 2006.
No casting has been announced for the American productions of Woman in White, although it is likely that three-time Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman, who portrays Marian Halcombe in the West End mounting of that musical, will likely repeat that role on Broadway. "It's looking good," Friedman's agent told Playbill.com Nov. 22, 2004. "We assume she'll be coming [to New York], although I can't confirm that yet." (Woman in White would mark Friedman's Broadway debut, though she has played two critically acclaimed stints at the Cafe Carlyle and will play Momma Rose this summer in a production of Gypsy at the Ector Theatre in Odessa, TX.) For more information about The Woman in White visit www.womaninwhitethemusical.com.