Originally created 12/29/04

Back pain cuts short Lane's run in 'The Producers'



LONDON - Back problems have forced Nathan Lane to quit the London West End run of "The Producers" almost two weeks earlier than planned.

Lane has pulled out of five performances of the Mel Brooks musical since Dec. 16 after suffering two slipped discs. The 48-year-old actor has been advised to cancel his remaining performances, the musical's producers said Tuesday. He was told he should recover in about six weeks.

Lane, star of the Tony-winning Broadway production, had replaced Richard Dreyfuss, who quit three weeks before opening night amid reports that he wasn't up to the job. Producers said Dreyfuss was sidelined by complications from back surgery and a recurring shoulder injury.

Critics adored Lane's exuberant and physically demanding performance as Max Bialystock, an unscrupulous impresario trying to stage a surefire flop.

Understudy Cory English will play the role until Jan. 8, when Lane had been due to leave. Brad Oscar, Lane's former Broadway understudy, will take over Jan. 10 as scheduled.

Lane is due to begin filming a movie version of the musical, alongside Matthew Broderick and Will Ferrell, in February.