Hugh Jackman is no longer involved in long-gestating stage production "Houdini" which is aiming for 2015-16 Broadway run. "The Wolverine" actor, who had long been attached to play the late illusionist in the play, drops out of the project citing scheduling conflicts.
"I have greatly enjoyed the collaborative process on Houdini," he says. "Ultimately, though, I wasn't able to commit to the time this role will require. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the creative team and I wish everyone the best. I know they're well on their way to making something extraordinary."
Tony winners Scott Sanders and David Rockwell serve as producers, while Jack O'Brien ("Hairspray") is tapped as a director. Composer Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked (2015)") steps in to replace Danny Elfman, while David Ives ("Venus in Fur") fills in the spot left by Andy Sorkin who was originally tapped to write the musical.
"Hugh has been terrific to have on this part of our journey," Sanders says of Jackman's exit. "We will continue to move forward with our remarkable creative team as they craft this ambitious new musical."
The Aussie actor is no stranger to musical projects. He won a Tony Award for his role as Peter Allen in 2004's "The Boy From Oz", received positive reviews for his musical number as a host at the 2009 Academy Awards, and got an Oscar nomination last year for big-screen musical "Les Miserables".
2013 was quite a busy year for Jackman. He released three movies, "Movie 43", "The Wolverine", and "Prisoners". He was named by Forbes the third highest-paid actor of the year with approximately $55 million, following Robert Downey Jr. and Channing Tatum. He will next star in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" due May 23, 2014.