Leigh Zimmerman (pictured) will premiere a new comedy at London’s fringe King’s Head Theatre this month, before returning to the West End musical stage in the autumn for the long-awaited transfer of Mel Brooks’ multi Tony Award-winning The Producers (See News, 2 Feb 2004 & 17 Dec 2003).

At the King’s Head, Zimmerman will join Rolf Saxon (Chicago, The Graduate, The Seven Year Itch) and Owen Brenman (One Foot in the Grave) in Carl Djerassi’s Three on a Couch - a three-hander set in New York and revolving around an egomaniac writer, his neurotic shrink and rather cross but beautiful wife - which runs from 29 March to 25 April 2004 (previews from 17 March).

A world-famous scientist, best known for the synthesis of the contraceptive pill in the 1960s, Djerassi is the author of multiples novels and plays such as An Immaculate Misconception. Three on a Couch is directed by Andy Jordan and designed by Nicky Shaw.

An American whose Broadway credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Crazy for You and Follies, Zimmerman came to West End prominence in Chicago before starring last year as The Girl in the Yellow Dress in Contact, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, who she’ll be reunited with for The Producers. Mel Brooks’ hit Broadway musical receives its London premiere at the West End’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 9 November 2004 (previews from 22 October).

In The Producers - written by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1968 film classic - Zimmerman will play Ulla, starring alongside Richard Dreyfuss and Lee Evans, as washed-up theatre producer Max Bialystock and his timid accountant Leo Bloom, who cook up a scheme to make a fortune by presenting a sure-fire flop called "Springtime for Hitler".

The Producers opened on Broadway in March 2001 and - with original stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick - went on to become the hottest, and most expensive, ticket in town and to sweep the board at that year's Tony Awards, scooping 12 prizes including Best Musical.

The London production of The Producers also reunites director and choreographer Stroman with the rest of the original Broadway creative team. Scenic design is by Robin Wagner, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski, sound by Steve C Kennedy and orchestration by Doug Besterman. The musical is presented in London by Rocco Landesman, David Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment, the Frankel Baruch Viertel Routh Group, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Rick Steiner, Robert FX Sillerman and Mel Brooks in association with James D Stern/Douglas Meyer.

Further casting for the West End has not yet been announced.

- by Terri Paddock