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Heroin found near dead 'How to Succeed' stagehand

June 23, 2011 | 10:52 am

Harry On what would have been its 100th performance at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, the Broadway musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” was canceled Wednesday night after a backstage worker was found dead from a possible drug overdose minutes before showtime.

Several packets of heroin were found “in the vicinity” of the 29-year-old male, according to one law enforcement official, but the cause of death remained under investigation Thursday.

Police were called to the theater at 7:55 p.m. Wednesday after the man, a carpenter whose name was not released, was found in cardiac arrest backstage.

He was taken to a hospital and was dead on arrival, said police spokesman Paul J. Browne.

The packed house had been waiting for the show to begin when its stars, "Harry Potter's" Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette, who won a Tony earlier this month for best featured actor in a musical for his portrayal of the business executive J.B. Biggley, appeared onstage and announced that “a tragedy” had occurred backstage.  They didn’t provide  details.

Police were waiting for the medical examiner’s report to confirm the cause of death. But one law enforcement official said an overdose was suspected “because at least a dozen packets that had contained heroin” were found near the man’s workspace.

 “How to Succeed” opened on Broadway on March 27 and received eight Tony nominations, including for best musical revival.  The original 1961 production won seven Tony awards, including best musical.  This production won just one, for Larraquette’s performance.

--Tina Sussman, from New York

Photo: Daniel Radcliffe in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Credit: AP/The Hartman Group, Ari Mintz

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