'The Producers' opens on West End

Nov. 10, 2004 at 5:34 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- "The Producers" has opened in London to standing ovations for U.S. actor Nathan Lane, who took over when Richard Dreyfuss left the show.

The popular Broadway musical opened Tuesday in London's West End with a celebrity audience, including producer Mel Brooks and his actress wife Anne Bancroft, Britain's Telegraph reported Wednesday.

During the days before its opening, the box office increased from $5 million to approximately $9 million because of news of standing ovations during the previews, the Telegraph said.

Few tickets reportedly are available for any performances before Christmas.

Lane, who won a Tony for his portrayal of Max Bialystock in the Broadway version, was called in when Dreyfuss exited five days before previews amid rumors he was unprepared.

"Nathan Lane is fantastic. He truly gives one of the greatest performances on stage that I have ever seen.," said David Ian, one of the show's producers. "He had four days of rehearsals with the British cast, but fitted in like a pro. It wasn't too difficult because he knows the show better than anybody on that stage."

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