Annette Bening drops out of ‘Species’

Actress cites 'personal reasons' for withdrawal

Annette Bening has dropped out of the Geffen Playhouse and Broadway runs of “The Female of the Species.”

Citing “personal reasons,” Bening’s withdrawal was announced Friday. Scripts of Joanna Murray-Smith’s play are being sent to other actresses as the Geffen hopes to keep the play in the schedule.

“Species,” being directed by Michael Mayer, who won the Tony this year for his helming of “Spring Awakening,” has a Feb. 5-March 16 run in Los Angeles and was eyed for a late April opening on the Great White Way. It would have been Bening’s first Broadway outing in 20 years.

“Live theater always means surprises,” Geffen Playhouse producing director Gil Cates said in a statement. “We wanted to communicate Annette’s situation with our subscribers and supporters as soon as possible. We’re exploring a range of options.”

Bening’s part is a feminist literary giant suffering writer’s block as deadlines for her new book keep passing. A fan arrives at her doorstep, and the writer’s life unravels.

No announcement has been made on the casting of the play’s other five roles.

The Geffen production is the play’s American premiere. It has been produced in Murray-Smith’s native Australia.

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