Tim Curry has withdrawn from Chichester Festival Theatre's production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead due to ill health.

Opening on Tuesday (31 May, previews from 20 May) for a run through to 11 June 2011, the production will then transfer to the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket, opening 21 June (16 June 2011) playing a limited season to 20 August 2011 as part of Trevor Nunn's year-long programme at the London theatre.

Alan Finch, executive director of CFT, said in a statement: "It is with great regret that we confirm that Tim Curry will be unable to complete the run of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead due to ill-health, following an on-going chest infection and repeated asthma attacks.

"We know that our audiences will be disappointed not to see him in this role, however Tim's well-being is a priority and we wish him the very best for a speedy recovery."

Finch's statement goes on to confirm that Curry's part - that of The Player alongside Samuel Barnett and Jamie Parker in the title roles - will be taken by Curry’s understudy Chris Andrew Mellon while the production "considers its longer-term options."

Curry's recent London stage appearances include originating the role of King Arthur in the West End premiere of Monty Python’s Spamalot, a role he also created on Broadway, and which won him a Whatsonstage.com Award.

His myriad other credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Annie, Addams Family Reunion, Kinsey, Cranfor, Will and Grace and Wise Guy on screen, and The Rocky Horror Show, The Threepenny Opera, Amadeus, My Favourite Year and Travesties on stage.

Tom Stoppard’s existential comedy, which is directed by Nunn, turns the spotlight onto the apparently inconsequential experiences of the two minor courtiers in Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are by turn comic, tragic and philosophical as they try to make sense of the pointless and arbitrary nature of their own existence.

Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1966 before being picked up by the National Theatre and then given its London premiere at the Old Vic (where the National was then based), Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead was Stoppard’s first major success.