Nikki Blonsky has withdrawn from the Off-Broadway return of Stuffed, currently in previews at the Westside Theatre. As the production searches for a replacement, understudy Lauren Ann Brickman will assume the role of Marty beginning October 12.
The comedy, written by and starring Lisa Lampanelli, will now officially open at the Westside Theatre's downstairs space October 31 instead of the previously announced October 19.
According to the production, an illness had led to Blonsky not receiving sufficient rehearsal time leading up to the show's start date. Blonsky, who starred in the 2007 film adaptation of the musical Hairspray, missed performances from October 5 (the first preview performance) through October 9. Following her first performance October 10, Blonsky and the creative team reached a mutual agreement to part ways.
“I am so so sorry Nikki had to leave the production,” Lampanelli said in a statement. “When we cast her as Marty, the confident plus-sized girl in the show, I was over the moon because Nikki Blonsky embodies that character to a T. Unfortunately, for us and for her, the timing put us behind schedule, and the two of us agreed this was for the good of the show. I will always love and admire Nikki and what she represents, and I really hope we can work together on something in the future. Nothing would tickle me more.”
“While I'm sad not to continue with the play this time around, I want what's best for it and my castmates, who are beautifully telling this story and connecting to audiences every night,” Blonsky added.
Brickman steps into a cast that, in addition to Lampanelli, features Eden Malyn And Marsha Stephanie Blake. Jackson Gay directs.