"Ultimately, though, I wasn't able to commit to the time this role will require. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the creative team and I wish everyone the best. I know they're well on their way to making something extraordinary."
"Hugh has been terrific to have on this part of the journey," added lead producer Scott Sanders. "We will continue to move forward with our remarkable creative team, as they craft this ambitious new musical."
Jackman's exit follows the withdrawal in January of Aaron Sorkin, who had been attached to write the book for the show but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. David Ives (Venus in Fur) stepped in to replace Sorkin.
Jack O'Brien (Hairspray) remains attached to direct Houdini, which has a score by Stephen Schwartz, currently represented on Broadway with the blockbuster "Wicked" and the hit revivalPippin. Danny Elfman had initially been involved as composer before Schwartz came on board.
Jackman has a stellar track record as a major box office draw on Broadway -- in the Peter Allen bio-musical "The Boy From Oz"; the cop drama "A Steady Rain," in which he starred opposite Daniel Craig; and in his song-and-dance show "Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway." His exit unquestionably is a significant commercial blow to "Houdini."
No further information has been released regarding a timeline or possible new star for the developing show.
- This article originally appeared in THR.com.