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`Sloane' star out; e-mail cites turmoil

April 28, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" could be retitled "Exiting Jan Maxwell."

The actress left the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of the Joe Orton comedy Sunday after complaining about the behavior of her costar, Alec Baldwin.

She was replaced by her understudy, Barbara Sims, for the remainder of the play's run, which ends May 21 at the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre.

Maxwell's departure was first reported Wednesday in the New York Post, which obtained a copy of an e-mail the actress sent to a friend about Baldwin. In the note, the actress declared that the "bottom line was my physical safety, mental health and artistic integrity -- none of which Roundabout was supporting."

In the e-mail, Maxwell said Baldwin put his fist through a wall and was "throwing things around with all of us cowering," and Maxwell accused Baldwin of giving the Roundabout an ultimatum: refusing to go on with her.

Baldwin could not be reached for comment. Sheldon Lubliner, Maxwell's agent, said in a statement, "Ms. Maxwell has nothing to add to what has already been written about this incident. She regrets that a personal e-mail found its way to the press."

The Roundabout, in a statement, said, "Mr. Baldwin has been totally professional in all dealings with the company and management throughout the engagement of 'Entertaining Mr. Sloane,' and we are delighted to have him in the show. Ms. Maxwell chose to leave the production, and there was never any question of an ultimatum."

The nonprofit theater said the actress had given the production three weeks' notice last week, refusing to stay until the end of the run.

"After Ms. Maxwell made it clear that she did not want to stay, Roundabout decided for the benefit of the entire 'Sloane' company to let her know that she need not return to the production (of course receiving payment for the notice period of her contract) which she gladly accepted," the theater said.

Maxwell has long been a critics' favorite and received a Tony nomination last season for her work in the musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

In "Sloane," she received mostly positive notices for her portrayal of a sex-starved woman vying with her brother, played by Baldwin, for the attentions of her hunky tenant.

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