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Michael Ball Extends in Woman in White, Crawford to Return in May

It was announced in London this morning that Michael Ball has extended his fill-ill role for Michael Crawford in The Woman in White for another month. Originally contracted through April 2nd, with originally star Crawford to return on April 4, Michael Ball has extended through the end of April. This move gives Crawford more time to fully recover, and he's then expected to finish out his run in the show. Michael Ball kicks off a UK concert tour in May, making further extensions impossible.

Put out in a statement by his Official Fan Association this afternoon, Michael Crawford is said to be suffering from viral colitis, which was kicked off by a nasty strain of the gastric flu which hit him in December. Being viral, the colitis is currently working its way through his system, and he has every intention to return to the show, as soon as humanly possible. Crawford is now expected to make his return to the stage on May 2, 2005.

"THE WOMAN IN WHITE" opened at the Palace Theatre on September 15. Freely adapted from Wilkie Collins's Victorian thriller, "THE WOMAN IN WHITE" brings to the stage a musical of startling brilliance. A dashing young man, employed as the art tutor to two devoted sisters, is stranded at a remote railway cutting. Out of the darkness looms a woman, a mysterious figure dressed in white, desperate to share a chilling secret.

The show will soon be making its American transfer, with an out of town tryout now scheduled in Chicago's LaSalle Bank Theatre. The show opens there on November 15, 2005 and runes through January 8, 2006 before making its way eastward. No casting has been announced as of yet, but reports from London indicate that at minimum Maria Friedman will be making her way over with the production.

He and the sisters soon find themselves trapped in a web of betrayal and greed, the victims of a seemingly flawless crime. Together they will need all their resourcefulness and courage to outwit a hugely charismatic and ingenious villain, 'Count Fosco'. As the compelling plot twists and turns, low villainy vies with high romance in a world where nothing is as it first appears and where it is impossible to know who to trust.

This new musical has been adapted for the stage by Charlotte Jones, whose award-winning plays include "Humble Boy", with lyrics by David Zippel, whose credits include "City of Angels" and the Disney classics "Mulan" and "Hercules". Andrew Lloyd Webber has composed the captivating and romantic score. Internationally renowned director Trevor Nunn, responsible for, amongst others, "Cats", "Starlight Express", "Les Misérables" and, most recently, "Anything Goes", will direct the production.

The Palace Theatre Box Office is now open on 0870 895 5579.

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