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Bierko now in B’way’s ‘Thou’

Show is among season's most hotly anticipated

Craig Bierko, star of “The Music Man,” is in final negotiations to headline the new Susan Stroman-helmed musical “Thou Shalt Not,” due on Broadway in fall.

Bierko is completing a one-year run in the Meredith Willson revival, also directed by Stroman, with Eric McCormack of “Will & Grace” taking over the role of Prof. Harold Hill on May 8.

Based on Emile Zola’s novel “Therese Raquin,” “Thou Shalt Not” is one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the 2001-2002 legit season. The musical not only features Harry Connick Jr.’s first score for the stage but represents Stroman’s fourth project as director-choreographer in just two years, beginning with her Tony Award-winning dance musical “Contact” in fall 1999 and followed by “The Music Man” and “The Producers,” which opens April 19.

Book writer David Thomson (“Steel Pier”) has updated Zola’s novel from 19th century Paris to New Orleans immediately following World War II. Bierko would play the lover Laurent who, with his mistress Therese, murders her husband and returns as a ghost in Act Two to haunt the two killers.

Lincoln Center Theater, which workshopped “Thou Shalt Not” last fall and is presenting it on Broadway, has not announced casting for the show.

Bierko recently taped episodes of “Sex and the City” and will film “I’m with Lucy” opposite Monica Potter before he segues into rehearsals for “Thou Shalt Not” in late summer.

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