Two weeks after surgery for breast cancer, Maria Friedman will open musical in New York

Two weeks after having surgery for breast cancer, Maria Friedman will open Thursday _ as scheduled _ in "The Woman in White," the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on Wilkie Collins' Victorian mystery novel.

Friedman started preview performances Oct. 28 at Broadway's Marquis Theatre, but left the show six days later after discovering a lump in her left breast. She returned to the musical Nov. 10, missing only a week of performances. During her absence, understudy Lisa Brescia played the role of Marian Holcombe, the musical's adventurous heroine.

Friedman, in an interview with The New York Times, said she would begin radiation treatments in December. "I'm not going for hero status," the actress told the newspaper. "I'm doing what I can do, with enormous support."

The musical, adapted by Charlotte Jones and with lyrics by David Zippel, is directed by Trevor Nunn, who supervised such Lloyd Webber shows as "Cats," "Starlight Express," "Aspects of Love" and "Sunset Boulevard."

"The Woman in White" opened in London in September 2004 to mixed reviews. The Sunday Times of London called the show "a big, big triumph, a very palpable hit, no question," while The New York Times sniffed, "It isn't unpleasant, but it doesn't begin to capture what makes Collins' book such an enduring page turner.", AP reported. V.A.

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