Dreyfuss to star when Broadway hit opens in London

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The Independent Culture

The Hollywood actor Richard Dreyfuss is to star alongside the British comedian Lee Evans in a West End version of The Producers, the show that has been among the most popular tickets on Broadway in recent years.

The show will open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane next year. The real-life producers will be hoping for the kind of success enjoyed by the New York version, where the best seats were sold for almost £350.

Dreyfuss will star as the conniving Max Bialystock and Evans will play his nerdy sidekick Leo Bloom in the show based on Mel Brooks' 1968 film. The comedy is about two producers who hit on the idea of making a fortune by creating the biggest flop musical ever, "Springtime for Hitler", only to see it becoming a great success.

Brooks, who won an Oscar for best original screenplay when the film was released, said Dreyfuss and Evans were ideal casting. "What an act, what a double. These guys look so good together - they were born to play these parts," he told the London Evening Standard.

Dreyfuss, the star of the film Jaws, who has appeared in the West End before in Neil Simon's play The Prisoner of Second Avenue four years ago, said he had wanted a role since seeing it on Broadway. "It makes you laugh so much you want to spit your milk up," he said.

The New York show, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, won an unprecedented 12 Tony theatre awards and became a sell-out after opening two years ago.

One Brit, the award-winning actor Henry Goodman, has already had a crack at the show when he took over the role of Max Bialystock from Nathan Lane in the United States last year. But he left after only one month when the US backers decided he was "too serious".