Friedman will undergo surgery for stage 1 breast cancer on Nov. 3 and will require a few days to recover before returning to the new musical at the Marquis Theatre. Her understudy will play the role of Marian Halcombe in her absence. (Friedman will play performances Nov. 1 and 2.)
Woman in White producer Bob Boyett said in a statement, "Maria is our star, our friend and the beloved anchor of this company. We wish her and her family well over the next several weeks and we look forward to welcoming her back for her first Broadway opening night."
The new musical is set to officially open Nov. 17.
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 Trevor Nunn (direction), William Dudley (set and costume design), Paul Pyant (lighting design), Mick Potter (sound design), Wayne McGregor (dance and movement) and Simon Lee (musical supervisor).
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." Maria Friedman won her third Olivier Award for her performance as Mother in the West End production of Ragtime. She also won Oliviers for her one-woman show, Maria Friedman—By Special Arrangement, and for her work as Fosca in the London production of Sondheim's Passion. She received Olivier nominations for her roles as Dot in Sunday in the Park with George and Roxie in Chicago. Friedman's other stage credits include Lady in the Dark, Blues in the Night, April in Paris, Break of Day, Square Rounds, The Witches of Eastwick and Ragtime. She can also be seen as the Narrator in the film video of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
For more information about The Woman in White visit www.womaninwhitethemusical.com. For ticket information, go to www.ticketmaster.com.