Injury forces Michael McKean out of Broadway show

Posted May 23, 2012, at 8:49 p.m.

NEW YORK — Broadway producers scrambled Wednesday to fill Michael McKean’s part in a revival of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man” as the actor recovers from a broken leg after being struck by a car.

Producer Jeffrey Richards said that McKean’s role will be played by James Lecesne from now on after Tuesday night’s accident.

McKean, 64, who portrayed the lead singer in the movie “This is Spinal Tap,” was struck at West 86th Street and Broadway in Manhattan just before 3 p.m. Tuesday. Richards said McKean was in stable condition.

“I understand from his team that he has never missed a performance in his career,” Richards said in a release. “So this is the kind of first we are reluctant to announce.”

Set in Philadelphia during a fictional 1960 national convention, “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man” pits two candidates vying for their unnamed party’s presidential nomination — the East Coast intellectual Bill Russell, a former U.S. secretary of state, and the venal Tennessee Sen. Joe Cantwell. McKean had been playing Russell’s campaign director.

The play has been extended twice and is now playing through Sept. 9.

Lecesne, who is making his Broadway debut in the show, had been playing the much smaller role of a reporter from The Washington Post.

McKean had been part of a starry cast that includes James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, Candice Bergen, Kerry Butler, Angela Lansbury, and Eric McCormack. The play has been nominated for a Tony for best revival.

McKean, who last winter was also part of a production of “King Lear” at The Public Theater, also played Lenny on the hit television show “Laverne & Shirley.”

He has been a key player in the Christopher Guest’s ensemble pseudo-documentaries “Best in Show,” ”For Your Consideration” and “A Mighty Wind,” which earned him and his wife, actress Annette O’Toole, an Academy Award nomination for best original song.

McKean, whose past Broadway appearances have included “Hairspray” and the Harry Connick Jr. revival of “The Pajama Game,” has also appeared in such shows as “The Homecoming” and “Superior Donuts.”

This isn’t the first leg injury to knock a star out of a Broadway show this season. Stockard Channing’s knee collapsed backstage at “Other Desert Cities” after a Nov. 18 show and the Tony winner missed seven performances. She underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee and returned in less than a week and earned a Tony nomination for best leading actress in a play.

Online: http://www.thebestmanonbroadway.com

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