The tragedy of "Faust" will replace "Next Fall" in San Jose Rep's current season.

Theater officials had to postpone Geoffrey Nauffts' heart-rending drama to accommodate its busy star Danny Scheie. The celebrated actor and former head of Shakespeare Santa Cruz wasn't available to take on the leading role this spring as previously scheduled.

"'Next Fall' is a very important production for our community," said Rick Lombardo, artistic director of the Rep, in a release. "We wanted to produce this insightful, emotional story in the best way possible and couldn't be happier that our first choice actor, Danny Scheie, will be taking on the lead role."

Instead of "Next Fall," the Rep will stage Christopher Marlowe's 17th century classic "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus." Directed by Kirsten Brandt, the dark parable about making deals with the devil will run May 9-June 2. Brandt envisions a staging that juxtaposes high-tech elements with the play's primal themes.

"Next Fall," the story of a gay couple whose lives are upturned by a terrible accident, will also directed by Brandt. The regional premiere is now slated for Oct. 17-Nov. 20. Already purchased tickets for "Fall" can be used for "Faust" at the Rep, 101 Paseo de San Antonio. 408-367-7255 www.sjrep.org.

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