Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pete not getting naked..

The highly praised revival of Peter Shaffer's play Equus is to close because suitable big-name replacements cannot be found for its stars, Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths. Daniel Radcliffe in Equus Daniel Radcliffe is 'in discussions' about Broadway Pete Doherty, the drug-addicted rock star and boyfriend of Kate Moss, the model, was even considered as a replacement for Radcliffe, 17, who appears naked in the psychological drama and who has helped make it a near sell-out because of his fame in the title role of the Harry Potter films. David Pugh, the producer, watched Doherty give a recent concert and said that he "stood up well" to performing. But he said that he did not offer the 28-year-old Babyshambles singer the part in the West End production of Equus after holding discussions with his manager. Jamie Bell, who played the title role in the film Billy Elliot, was offered Radcliffe's part as Alan, a disturbed teenager who blinds horses, but would not accept it unless he could also appear in the Broadway production next year. The West End's economy is brittle, especially for straight plays, but with its two stars, the revival has been a huge and unexpected success. Mr Pugh's decision not to recast the parts but to close it when their contracts end on June 9, after 150 performances, is a major surprise. Straight plays, fighting for attention against musicals, struggle for audiences in the West End but Equus, staged at the high cost of £700,000, has been grossing £300,000 a week and it paid off its costs in the first nine weeks. Mr Pugh offered Richard Griffiths part as the psychiatrist, Dysart, to the Hollywood actor Robin Williams. "He was interested but then he was offered another movie," said the producer. Without a bankable big name and with American visitor numbers expected to fall in the summer because of the sliding dollar, Mr Pugh said yesterday that he decided to close the show "on a high". He said: "We could have replaced Dan and Richard, but the thought of having to do a half-cocked production into the summer didn't thrill us. There are half-a-dozen very good and upcoming young actors who could have taken over from Dan, but then I needed to get the right Dysart. "I'm not exactly inexperienced doing cast changes. I did 26 of them on Art [Yasmin Reza's long-running hit play which he produced] but it's been much more difficult with Equus." A national tour of Equus, so far uncast, is to follow the West End closure and Mr Pugh is to take the revival to Broadway in early summer next year. Griffiths and Radcliffe have been offered the New York run, but both are said to be "still in discussions" about it.

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