Nathan Lane(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
Nathan Lane
(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
The producers of The Producers announced this morning that Richard Dreyfuss is unable to continue in the role of Max Bialystock in the London production of the Mel Brooks musical "due to the effect of the physical demands of the show upon pre-existing injuries. Following his surgery for a herniated disc in January and the reoccurrence of a shoulder injury," the producers' statement continued, "it has become increasingly difficult for Mr. Dreyfuss to fulfil the rigors of the role, and it is with regret that both parties have had to make this decision. The producers are grateful to Mr. Dreyfuss for his artistry and all his work on their behalf, and hope that he will be able to rejoin the company when his physical condition permits."

Nathan Lane, who played Max in the original Broadway production of The Producers and who will recreate the role when the film version of the musical begins shooting in February, will join the London company through January 8. The production will continue on schedule at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, beginning previews on October 22 and opening on November 9. The show also stars Lee Evans stars as Leo Bloom, Nicolas Colicos as Franz Liebkind, James Dreyfus as Carmen Ghia, Conleth Hill as Roger De Bris, and Leigh Zimmerman as Ulla.

The Producers is based on the 1968 Mel Brooks film of the same title. The Broadway production of the show won 12 Tony Awards including "Best Musical," as well as major awards from the Drama Desk, the Outer Critics, the New York Drama Critics' Circle, and the Drama League. Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, The Producers has a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, scenic design by Robin Wagner, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski, sound by Steve C. Kennedy and orchestrations by Doug Besterman. The West End staging of the show reunites the entire creative team of the Broadway production.