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Molina to star in Marber play

'Howard Katz' will debut Stateside Off B'way

LONDON — Alfred Molina will star in the U.S. debut of “Howard Katz,” the 2001 play from “Closer” scribe Patrick Marber. Play will bow Off Broadway at the Laura Pels Theater early in 2007.

Plans are for a January start of previews followed by a February opening. Show will have a 13-week run under the direction of “Doubt’s” Tony-winning helmer Doug Hughes.

Marber got so-so reviews for “Howard Katz” when it opened in June 2001 at the National Theater’s Cottesloe. (At the National, Ron Cook played the showbiz agent of the title, a despairing British Jew who may or may not be in his prime at age 50.)

But the playwright, who directed the London debut himself, told Daily Variety he was “excited (about) looking at the play again without having to direct it” and would spend time reworking the script next year.

Marber, who just turned 41, added “I’m nearer the age of the character now. When I wrote the play, I was 35 or 36.”

Scribe spoke from the London set of Richard Eyre’s film “Notes on a Scandal,” starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, for which Marber penned the screenplay. Further ahead, he hopes to pen a large-scale comedy for the National.

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