The on-again, off-again European premiere of Fuddy Meers, starring Ally McBeal's Jane Krakowski (pictured) in her British stage debut, is now off again for the foreseeable future. It was due to open for a 16-week season at the West End's Arts Theatre on 29 October 2002 (previews from 17 October), but producers today cancelled the engagement because of a conflict with Krakowski's schedule.

The American TV star has signed up to star opposite Antonio Banderas next year in the Broadway revival of Tony Award-winning musical Nine. Although it doesn't open until March 2003, rehearsals will begin in New York in early January, which would require Krakowski to leave the London run of Fuddy Meers prematurely.

Instead of facing recasting problems, the London producers have decided not to proceed. A show spokesperson told that "we are exploring the possibility of a season sometime in 2003" instead.

Fuddy Meers revolves around an amnesiac (Krakowski) who, attempting to regain her memory, embarks on a crazy, roller coaster journey of self-discovery, meeting a series of bizarre characters along the way. The West End cast was also due to include Paola Dionisotti, who won both the Evening Standard and The Stage Best Actress Awards for her performance in Zinnie Harris' Further Than the Furthest Thing.

Stephen Henry's production was originally scheduled for this month's Edinburgh Festival Fringe but, due to a financial problem with one of the US-based producers, those plans were abandoned in June. UK producer, and owner of the Arts Theatre, Edward Snape then stepped in to bring the show to London.

Best known for her TV role as man-hungry secretary Elaine Vassal to Calista Flockhart's luckless lawyer in the American series Ally McBeal (now in its final UK episodes), Krakowski also has a long list of US stage credits including, on Broadway, the original casts of Once Upon a Mattress, Starlight Express and Grand Hotel, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award.

The Arts Theatre's current resident is Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, which has recently returned from its season at the New Ambassadors Theatre. It's currently booking at the Arts up to 12 October 2002. A replacement production for Fuddy Meers's autumn slot has not yet been confirmed.

- by Terri Paddock