Jeremy Piven will abruptly end his run in Broadway’s “Speed-the-Plow,” after missing Tuesday evening’s performance and a Wednesday matinee.
Piven has informed the producers that he hasn’t been feeling well and that the condition is attributable to a high mercury count.
The show’s producers weren’t returning calls, but Daily Variety reached out to David Mamet, who wrote the showbiz satire and seemed skeptical of the reasons for Piven’s departure.
“I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury,” Mamet said. “So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.”
Mamet indicated that the show will go on despite Piven’s exit.
“The good news is that some really great actors will be helping out and stepping in, which to me is a sign of great heroism and friendship,” said Mamet, who declined to name the replacements.
Piven, who opened alongside Elisabeth Moss and Raul Esparza in the successful revival of Mamet’s play on Oct. 23, had been expected to stay until late February.
A spokeswoman for the actor said he wanted to continue in the role but that doctors advised him he should end his run immediately.
The show is one of a handful of star-driven play revivals to log strong sales this fall, with “Plow” generally averaging more than $500,000 per week since opening to strong reviews.
Piven’s spokeswoman said the diagnosis came from a team of doctors headed by Dr. Carlon Colker, an internist and attending physician at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, and also CEO and medical director of Peak Wellness.
Colker could not be reached for comment.