Nathan Lane subs for an ailing Richard Dreyfuss in London's The Producers

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October 19 2004 12:00 AM ET

Broadway star Nathan Lane is rushing to London to replace Richard Dreyfuss in the London premiere of the hit musical The Producers after the Hollywood veteran was forced to pull out through injury. Lane created the role and made it his own on Broadway, where it won 12 Tony awards. A statement from the show's producers said Dreyfuss would be unable to make Friday's opening to preview audiences. "Following his surgery for a herniated disc in January and the reoccurrence of a shoulder injury, it has become increasingly difficult for Mr. Dreyfuss to fulfill the rigors of the role." The musical is based on the Mel Brooks 1968 movie which told the tale of two producers putting on the outrageous musical "Springtime for Hitler," conceived as a deliberate flop to allow them to take the backers' cash and flee. The 56-year-old Dreyfuss, star of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, had joked during rehearsals for the London show that his body was really suffering in the demanding role. "The trouble is, I'm not actually here," he quipped. "I am here in London, but my body hasn't actually arrived yet." In the demanding role of Max Bialystock, Dreyfuss had been set to sing and dance with his costar, British comedian Lee Evans. The show will still open as scheduled on November 9 with Nathan Lane stepping in on a temporary basis for two months.

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