Broadway play loses lead producer

Theater execs are scrambling to pull together investors to mount play “Clybourne Park” on Broadway after lead producer Scott Rudin abruptly pulled out earlier this week.

The exit of Rudin and his investors leaves the show underfunded just weeks before the production, currently playing a run at Center Theater Group in L.A., was to have shifted to the Main Stem. Rudin’s partner on the project, Stuart Thompson, also is no longer involved.

Jordan Roth, prexy of theater owner Jujamcyn Theaters, is among those working to reassemble a team for “Clybourne.” The play was set to land at the Walter Kerr Theater, one of the Broadway houses owned by Jujamcyn. One producer that was previously on board, Gotham nonprofit Lincoln Center Theater, is expected to remain attached should the show move forward, but it was unable to step into the lead producer role.

No one involved would speak on the record about the situation, but a couple of players remained optimistic the rescue operation would succeed.

The turmoil threatens the Broadway bow of a show that seemed poised to become a major contender in the 2012 legit awards season, given the plaudits “Clybourne” earned in its Off Broadway bow at Playwrights Horizons in early 2010. At the time Bruce Norris’ play stirred talk of an instant Rialto transfer, but when the move didn’t pan out the script went on to be staged at regionals around the country. Title also picked up the 2011 Pulitzer for drama.

The current production at L.A.’s Center Theater Group, which reassembles the cast and helmer of the Playwright Horizons incarnation, was put together with the expectation the show would make the jump to New York.

Turmoil arises from a sudden falling out between Rudin — the film, TV and stage producer whose tuner “The Book of Mormon” is a top grosser — and Norris, a scribe and actor who had been in negotiations to play a role on Rudin’s upcoming TV adaptation of novel “The Corrections.”

It’s said that when Norris unexpectedly backed out of “Corrections” earlier this week, Rudin responded by walking away from “Clybourne.”

Hoping for a swift recovery, Roth and others are now working overtime to lock in the show’s complete capitalization, expected to come in at around $2.5 million.

Loosely inspired by “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Clybourne Park” centers on the social, economic and racial shifts in a changing Chicago neighborhood. For the current incarnation, a reprise of the Playwrights Horizons original, Pam MacKinnon helms a cast that includes Frank Wood, Crystal A. Dickinson and Jeremy Shamos, among others.

If “Clybourne” makes it to the Rialto after all, it’ll join a slate of Broadway plays that includes “Other Desert Cities,” “The Columnist” and “Peter and the Starcatchers,” among others.

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