The Really Useful Website has now posted a statement confirming Crawford's withdrawal from the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The brief statement reads: "It is with great regret that it has been mutually agreed by Michael Crawford and the producers that he will not be returning to the London production of Woman in White. Michael has been trying up until the last minute to achieve the energy levels needed to go back on stage, but although getting better on a daily basis, the role requires a lot more strength than he has available at the moment." The actor, who created the role of Count Fosco, left the London production earlier in 2005 due to illness and was succeeded in the role by Michael Ball. Ball will continue to play Count Fosco through April 30. Anthony Andrews will take over the role beginning May 2. As previously announced, Ruthie Henshall will succeed Maria Friedman as Marian beginning July 11.
The Woman in White features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by David Zippel and a book by Charlotte Jones. According to production notes, The Woman in White concerns "a dashing young man, employed as the art tutor to two devoted sisters, [who] is stranded at a remote railway cutting. Out of the darkness looms a woman, a mysterious figure dressed in white, desperate to share a chilling secret. He and the sisters soon find themselves trapped in a web of betrayal and greed, the victims of a seemingly flawless crime. Together they will need all their resourcefulness and courage to outwit a hugely charismatic and ingenious villain. As the compelling plot twists and turns, low villainy vies with high romance in a world where nothing is as it first appears and where it is impossible to know who to trust."
For more information about The Woman in White visit www.womaninwhitethemusical.com.