Nathan Lane Quits London Producers Due to Back Injury

News   Nathan Lane Quits London Producers Due to Back Injury Tony Award winner Nathan Lane, who had been reprising his role as Max Bialystock in the London production of The Producers, has left the Mel Brooks musical.

Nathan Lane in The Producers
Nathan Lane in The Producers

BBC News reports that Lane has "pulled out of all his remaining performances . . . after suffering from two slipped discs." Lane was a last minute replacement for film actor Richard Dreyfuss, who departed the show during rehearsals, also due to back and shoulder problems. Lane had been scheduled to play his final performance at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane Jan. 8, 2005.

A spokesperson for the musical told the BBC that Lane was "advised that he should abstain from any further performances for the remainder of his London contract." Cory English, Lane's understudy, will play the role of the crooked producer until Jan. 10, when Brad Oscar assumes the role. The spokesperson added, "Cory English has already played the role with great success for the five performances Nathan Lane has already missed due to his condition."

Lane, the spokesperson added, is expected to recover in time to begin filming the movie version of The Producers in February.

During Lane's long run playing the demanding role of Bialystock in the New York production of The Producers, he suffered several injuries and ailments, and was often out of the show.

"The Producers" film is set to begin filming in February at the new Steiner Studios, located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The new facility was specially built to accommodate Hollywood-style productions. The upcoming movie musical will co-star Lane and Matthew Broderick, re-creating their stage roles for the silver screen. Directed by Susan Stroman, the "Producers" cast will also include Will Ferrell as Franz Liebkind, Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia and Gary Beach as Roger De Bris. The original 1968 "The Producers" film about a conniving producer starred Zero Mostel as producer Max Bialystock and Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom. Others in the cast included Kenneth Mars as Franz Liebkind, Renée Taylor as Eva Braun, Christopher Hewett as Roger De Bris, Lee Meredith as Ulla and Andréas Voutsinas as Carmen Giya. Mel Brooks won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for "The Producers," and Gene Wilder was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

For tickets to the London production, call (0)870 890 1109.