Illness Ends Usher's Chicago Run

Illness Ends Usher's Chicago Run
Usher in Chicago
Frank Micelotta/Getty

10/13/2006 08:00AM

A case of strep throat has brought an abrupt end to Usher's run in the Broadway revival of the musical Chicago, which saw a spike in ticket sales after he joined the cast.

The 27-year-old R&B star – who was playing shyster lawyer Billy Flynn for a two-month engagement – took ill on Oct. 6 and has not performed in the show since, his mother and manager, Jonnetta Patton, tells the Associated Press. He was due to give his farewell performance Saturday night.

The New York Post reports that Usher's absence has cost the production an estimated $400,000 in refunds to disappointed ticket buyers.

"Usher has had an amazing time on Broadway and loved every minute of performing on stage with the entire cast of Chicago," Patton told the AP. "He expresses his sincere apologies to all of his fans who purchased tickets to see him in Chicago this final week and appreciates all of their love and support."

Said show producer Barry Weissler: "Usher made a spectacular Broadway debut, bringing a great dedication, work ethic and his amazing talent to the show. We all hope that he might return at some point for the many fans that were unable to see his wonderful performance as Billy Flynn."

Weissler added, "Usher has found a new home on Broadway and is welcome back anytime."

Shortly after his debut in the show – for which he received strong notices from the critics – Usher told PEOPLE: "Broadway is like a monogamous relationship. Doing anything else, like acting in Hollywood – which is great – it's like a one-night stand. You do it and then you keep moving."

The role of Flynn was originally created in the 1975 production by Jerry Orbach – long before the late actor became a household name on TV's Law & Order – and later played by Richard Gere in the 2002 Oscar-winning best picture.
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