Report: Richard Dreyfuss to Star in London’s Producers?

News   Report: Richard Dreyfuss to Star in London’s Producers?
The London production of The Producers, due to start rehearsals in July 2004, seems to be going through more casting dilemmas than “Gone With The Wind.” Comedian Lee Evans (“There’s Something About Mary”) is down as the weak-willed accountant Leo Bloom—Gene Wilder’s part in the movie version and Matthew Broderick's on Broadway. But what of the equally crucial role of Max?
Richard Dreyfuss
Richard Dreyfuss

The latest rumor (from the Daily Mail) is that Richard Dreyfuss may make a return to the London stage for the first time since 1999’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue to take on the ebullient but shameless impresario.

The rumor may be just that, however, because Dreyfuss is scheduled to star in Sly Fox, which opens on Broadway on April 1, 2004. A spokesman for the show said the actor is signed to appear through the end of summer 2004.

The producers of The Producers know how important it is to get casting right. They’ve already been burned – in PR terms at least – by the hiring, then firing, of British thesp Henry Goodman, who was supposed to succeed Nathan Lane as Max on Broadway. And, more two and a half years after its New York opening, there’s speculation in British theatre circles about whether the show is still ‘hot’ enough to be a West End smash.

So the casting of a big star alongside Evans, one who can deliver a knockout performance of the calibre of Lane, would be a huge boost. Previous rumors have suggested Michael Crawford (who, depending on which report you believe, was either turned down as not funny enough or declined, having decided that his own comic style was too close to Evans’), Robert Lindsay, who apparently said no, and Lane himself. Despite having returned to the Broadway cast, Lane now seems out of the picture.

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