'Creative differences' fuel last-minute departure

Shia LaBeouf has exited the Broadway play “Orphans” a week and a half into rehearsals for the show, which is set to begin previews March 19.

Reps for the production, which also stars Alec Baldwin and Tom Sturridge in its cast of three thesps, cite “creative differences” as the only official reason for the departure.

Last-minute withdrawal leaves the producers and creative team of “Orphans” — which has already, this late in its run-up to previews, spent a wad of cash in advertising and production costs — scrambling to find a last-minute replacement. A new name is expected to be locked in sometime in the next couple of days, according to a couple of sources.

In “Orphans,” LaBeouf would have played Treat, an unstable young man who kidnaps an older rich guy (Baldwin) and holds him hostage in the house Treat shares with his younger brother. The 1983 play by Lyle Kessler had an Off Broadway run in 1985.

Frederick Zollo (“Once”) and Robert Cole produce “Orphans,” which is helmed by Daniel Sullivan. For now, the production is on track to start previews March 19 prior to an April 7 opening at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.

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