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Izzard scheming ‘Macbeth’ prod’n

British comic eyes return to New York stage

LONDON — Eddie Izzard, the cross-dressing comic who scored big on Broadway last season in director Laurence Boswell’s revival of Peter Nichols’ “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg,” has a follow-up venture planned for the New York theater in 2006: none other than “Macbeth.”

And the actor would like his co-star in “Joe Egg,” Victoria Hamilton, to join him as Lady Macbeth, Izzard said Thursday, speaking at a lunchtime gathering of British comedians at London’s Groucho Club.

No producers or director have been named for the venture.

Izzard has no prior experience acting Shakespeare, though he did appear several years ago in a production of Marlowe’s “Edward II” at the Leicester Haymarket, north of London.

The actor told Daily Variety he had only the fondest memories of his acclaimed run for the Roundabout Theater last spring as Bri, father to the disabled Joe Egg in Nichols’ wounding play. “As a standup comedian, to be Tony nominated is reward itself,” said Izzard.

Brian Dennehy took home the statuette for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” “Brian was very supportive of me,” said Izzard, whose penchant for transvestitism was acknowledged nationwide in an acceptance speech from Dennehy that, according to Izzard, “was misinterpreted.”

As for other stage shows in his future, Izzard pointed to an obvious one that lay in wait: “I’ve got to do ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ at some point in my career.”

The track record for recent New York and London productions of “Macbeth,” meanwhile, has not been great, with Kelsey Grammer, Rufus Sewell and Sean Bean among those getting mixed to poor reviews on either side of the Atlantic in Shakespeare’s tragedy.

The Bean revival, at least, did strong business on London’s West End, so the play may make greater sense commercially than it does critically.

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