The UK premiere of Glen Berger’s one-man show Underneath the Lintel, starring The West Wing’s Richard Schiff (pictured) in his West End debut, will close two weeks early at the West End’s Duchess Theatre. The play, which opened on 12 February 2007 (previews from 7 February), had been booking until 14 April (See 1st Night Photos, 13 Feb 2007). It will now finish on 31 March 2007 after a run of seven weeks. In addition, two matinee performances, on 21 and 28 March, have been cancelled.

In Underneath the Lintel, Schiff plays a librarian whose life is altered by an epic journey after he vows to track down the person who returned a library book 113 years overdue.

Berger’s play has had several incarnations in the US since it premiered Off-Broadway in 2001. The production now in London was first seen at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in early 2006. It’s directed by Maria Mileaf.

A show spokesperson told today: “I think there was a slight overestimation on audience potential. By reducing the length of the run, we’re confident that the audience potential can be maximised.”

Richard Schiff is best known as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler in the American TV series The West Wing, for which he won an Emmy Award. His film credits include the films Seven, City Hall, Malcolm X, Hoffa, Michael, Jurassic Park, Deep Impact, Dr Doolittle, Heaven and Forces of Nature. Schiff began his career as a theatre director in New York, founding the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. After becoming an actor and moving to Los Angeles, he joined Tim Robbins’ Actors Gang and appeared in productions including Goose, Tom Tom and Urban Folktales.

Underneath the Lintel is presented in the West End by Michael Edwards and Carole Winter for MJE Productions. No further shows have yet been announced for the Duchess Theatre.

- by Caroline Ansdell