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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Actor's surprise at Broadway sacking
The early cast of The Producers
Lane and Broderick starred in the original show
A UK actor fired from one of Broadway's top roles after just 30 performances has said theatre bosses did not tell him he was being replaced.

Henry Goodman, 51, learned in a phone call from his London-based agent backstage after Sunday's matinee performance that he had been sacked from the musical The Producers.

Henry Goodman
Henry Goodman did only 30 shows
He said the show's creator, Mel Brooks, had even told him "I love you" when they met in a restaurant the day before he was fired.

"I thought we were flying," Goodman told the New York Times.

Goodman was just one month into a much-publicised nine-month contract to play Max Bialystock, a corrupt Broadway producer who hatches a plot to create the most offensive show ever, then rake in the cash when it flops.

He told the paper so much money was at stake in the industry that producers were tempted to treat people as commodities rather than individuals.

"This is as much about the boardrooms as it is about the boards."

Goodman will be compensated for the remaining eight months of his contract worth about $10,000 a week, the paper reported.

Producer Rocco Landesman said Goodman had every reason to feel "miffed" because he had given assurances that everything was going fine.

But he said the decision had been taken because Goodman was too serious in his performance.

'Wrong role'

The musical features dancing Nazi stormtroopers and a notorious performance of Springtime For Hitler, one of the songs from Brooks's' original film.

"I think the feeling was that it was the right actor in the wrong role," Landesman said.

Under its original cast of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick the show became Broadway's biggest success of recent years, picking up 12 prestigious Tony Awards in 2001.

Goodman has been replaced by Brad Oscar, who was Lane's understudy, and who frequently stood in for the star while he was recovering from vocal problems.

See also:

12 Sep 01 | Showbiz
US showbusiness shuts down
04 Jun 01 | Arts
Musical makes Broadway history
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Eyre calls for cheaper theatre
18 Mar 02 | Showbiz
Producers stars bow out
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