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Public to work around Wolfe’s illness

Renowned producer-director to undergo kidney transplant next month

NEW YORK — George C. Wolfe, arguably the hottest producer-director in theater today, will undergo a kidney transplant following his high-profile staging of “Macbeth,” starring Alec Baldwin, next month, Daily Variety has learned.

Wolfe, director of Broadway’s megahit “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk” and the top creative exec of Off Broadway’s Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, has been receiving dialysis treatments for his condition. Wolfe apparently had the choice of continuing the treatments or opting for a transplant, and elected the latter. Wolfe’s brother will donate the kidney.

Neither Wolfe nor a spokeswoman for the Public Theater would comment on or specify the diagnosis of the director’s medi-cal condition. The spokeswoman says only that the theater’s 1998 spring season will continue as planned, with “Macbeth,” co-starring Angela Bassett, on schedule for a Feb. 17 preview.

Earlier this month, the Public postponed its Broadway revival of “On the Town” after choreographer Christopher d’Amboise left the production. Initially scheduled to begin performances at the St. James Theater April 7, the musical is now planned for an opening next fall at an undisclosed Broadway venue.

Although the postponement was not attributed to Wolfe’s health, the rescheduling will afford the director time for the transplant surgery. Following “Macbeth,” the Public’s spring season can continue without Wolfe’s hands-on creative involvement: Jerry Zaks will direct Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” with performances beginning March 17. Also at the Public this spring, Tina Landau directs a concert production of Adam Guettel’s “Saturn Returns” oratorio.

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