The producers of Broadway's Chicago announced Feb. 26 that Louis Gossett, Jr. left the show within a week of his planned Feb. 18 debut as Billy Flynn and returned to Los Angeles, owing to an aggravated asthmatic condition.
He performed the first week of the show (six performance starting Feb. 20), according to a spokesman for the hit musical revival at the Shubert Theatre. Eric Jordan Young has stepped in to play the slick lawyer in the darkly comic musical by Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb.
Gossett "has an asthmatic condition that became aggravated shortly after the start of rehearsals," according to a statement from producers Barry and Fran Weissler. "At the advice of his physician, he has returned to his home. The producers hope that Mr. Gossett can return to the production at a later date if scheduling permits."
A star replacement is being sought.
* Gossett, the Academy Award-winning actor from "An Officer and a Gentleman," was announced to sing and dance as Billy Flynn beginning Feb. 18 and continuing to April 7.
The role of the slick lawyer Billy was recently played by George Hamilton, who, owing to an injury, left the role two weeks earlier than his skedded Feb. 17 departure date. Eric Jordan Young has been the faithful man in the wings.
Gossett, who was Richard Gere's gruff drill instructor in "An Officer and a Gentleman," has musical theatre credits, including Golden Boy and Lost in the Stars. Film credits include "A Raisin in the Sun," "The River Niger," "Iron Eagle" and such TV productions as "Roots" (Emmy Award) and "The Josephine Baker Story" (Golden Globe Award).
Gossett joined Roxanne Carrasco (Velma), Belle Calaway (Roxie), Michele Pawk (Matron Mama Morton) and P.J. Benjamin (Amos) in the hit revival of the musical by Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb.
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