Dame Judi Dench has decided not to travel to New York with The Hours screenwriter David Hare’s play The Breath Of Life, although her co-star in the West End production, Dame Maggie Smith, will be continuing in her role when the play opens on Broadway in late autumn.
It will mark Dame Maggie’s first Broadway show since Lettice And Lovage in 1990.
Eileen Atkins, Smith’s co-star a few seasons ago in a West End revival of A Delicate Balance, is among those under consideration for Dench’s part, reports Daily Variety.
Rumours have been swirling ever since the play opened in the West End in October that Dench found it difficult playing so gruelling a supporting role, particularly as her character has to grapple with the loss of a husband.
Dench’s husband, actor Michael Williams, died in January 2001.
"Judi wants to be at home, and not in New York," the play’s producer Robert Fox, told Variety.