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Richard Dreyfuss Is Complicit at Spacey’s Old Vic

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Five years after being axed from the UK premiere of The Producers just days before opening night (See News, 19 Oct 2004), Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss (pictured) will return to the West End to star in the world premiere of Joe Sutton’s new political drama Complicit, directed by his Hollywood peer Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic (See News, 22 Oct 2008), where it runs in-the-round from 22 January to 21 February 2009 (previews from 7 January).

Dreyfuss will play Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ben Kritzer, who finds himself hauled in front of a Supreme Court Special Prosecutor where he faces the dilemma of defending his belief in the freedom of the press or protecting his family.

In October 2004, Dreyfuss attracted headlines himself with his sudden departure from the Broadway transfer of The Producers at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. A statement issued by the musical’s producers at the time claimed that he was suffering from a shoulder injury and that the decision for him to leave was mutual (See News, 18 Oct 2004). The actor later revealed that he’d been sacked because the creative team were unhappy with his performance – though he admitted that he couldn’t sing or dance, he made that clear when he was approached to take on the role of Max Bialystock.

Dreyfuss made his West End debut in 1999 in the Neil Simon comedy The Prisoner of Second Avenue. Referring to The Producers incident today, Dreyfuss said about returning to the London stage: “I’m very excited to have a chance of not being fired before the opening. So far I’m batting 500. Stay tuned!”

Kevin Spacey, who is artistic director of the Old Vic, commented: “I am delighted that Richard is to join our fifth season with Complicit and is coming to the Old Vic to take on this challenging role. He is a brilliant actor whom I’ve long admired, and I’m thrilled that we are being given this opportunity to work together. It’s great that he’s coming to London, and I think audiences are in for a real treat.”

Dreyfuss’ Broadway credits include Death and the Maiden. He\'s most famous for his many films such as Down and Out in Beverley Hills, Mr Holland\'s Opus, Tin Men, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws and The Goodbye Girl, for which he won an Academy Award at the age of 29, the youngest actor ever to win the Best Actor category. He can currently be seen on screen in another political drama, Oliver Stone’s biopic about George W Bush, W.

- by Terri Paddock


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