Ball, standing in for Michael Crawford – who, according to a press release, is fighting the flu (and has been since Ball stepped in in mid-February) – will now continue until April 30.
Crawford was to have resumed his duties at the beginning of April, but now won’t be back in action for another month. So, Ball continues playing Count Fosco, the villainous rat-fancier whose machinations repel the heroic Marian (played by Maria Friedman). It has not been announced whether either Crawford or Ball will lead the show on Broadway.
West End producers credit Ball, alongside Crawford, Jonathan Pryce and Elaine Paige, as one of the few British musical-theatre stars whose name in a show usually guarantees good box-office. His last musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, is still going strong several casts later, and he found fame through those solid-gold hits, Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera (in which he starred alongside Michael Crawford). Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love made less money than those others, but did Ball’s profile the world of good when his single from the show, “Love Changes Everything,” became a U.K. chart success.
Ball previously appeared with Woman in White co-star Maria Friedman when they headlined Stephen Sondheim’s Passion on Shaftesbury Avenue (one of the few Michael Ball shows that didn’t turn a profit). He has never before, however, played the bad guy in a West End show.
When he first took over the role, Ball said in a statement, “I am delighted to have been offered this opportunity. Stepping into the great Michael Crawford’s shoes represents an enormous challenge and I am thrilled to be working once again with Maria.” For more information call (0)870 895 5579.