Lane will replace Richard Dreyfuss, who was in rehearsals to open the West End production of the musical at the Drury Lane Theatre. Lane will head to England today to begin rehearsals for the musical, which begins previews Oct. 22 prior to an official opening Nov. 9.
A press statement said Dreyfuss' withdrawal was due to an injury: "Following his surgery for a herniated disc in January and the re-occurrence of a shoulder injury, it has become increasingly difficult for Mr. Dreyfuss to fulfil the rigours of the role.” A report in the New York Post adds, "Some sources said [Dreyfuss] had injured his back during rehearsals, while others said he was replaced because of a lackluster performance."
In London Lane will co-star opposite the Leo Bloom of Lee Evans. It will be a reunion for the two actors, who co-starred in the 1997 film "Mouse Hunt." The London company also features Leigh Zimmerman (Ulla), Conleth Hill (Roger De Bris), Nicolas Colicos (Franz Liebkind) and James Dreyfus (Carmen Ghia).
The Producers has had a difficult time finding replacements for Tony winner Nathan Lane. When Lane left the New York production after his initial run, British actor Henry Goodman had been announced as his replacement. Goodman, however, was fired after only a few performances as Max Bialystock. Brad Oscar took over the role at that time. Lane is scheduled to stay with the London company for three months.
In addition to his Tony-winning roles in The Producers and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Nathan Lane has starred on The Great White Way in Present Laughter, Merlin, The Wind in the Willows, Some Americans Abroad, On Borrowed Time, Guys and Dolls, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Love! Valour! Compassion! and The Man Who Came to Dinner. The actor has also been featured in such films as "Addams Family Values," "Mousehunt," "Love's Labour's Lost" and "The Birdcage," scoring a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the latter. He was also seen in the film adaptation of "Nicholas Nickleby."