British musical theatre legend Michael Crawford is bitterly disappointed after missing out on the lead in a new stage version of The Producers.

The thespian had been hoping to star in the London production of the show, which was a record-breaking smash hit on Broadway, New York when performed by Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

But despite his past stage triumphs in musicals including PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Crawford's been turned down for the role of MAX BIALYSTOCK - because he's not "funny" enough, according to the DAILY MAIL newspaper.

Comic Mel Brooks, who wrote the 1968 movie and the subsequent musical about two producers desperate to create a flop, met with Crawford and the show's director SUSAN STROMAN in New York, but found him "unfunny" - so despite London theatre executives' insistence that he'd be a box office draw, he's been turned down.

Crawford's friends are suggesting he passed on the role by choice, because he was wary of working with Lee Evans, the other lead, fearing their comic styles are too similar.

But sources in New York insists Crawford was never offered the part.

26/09/2003 13:32