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UPDATED: Stacy Keach to return as Nixon Friday at the Ahmanson

March 24, 2009 |  1:04 pm

Stacy Keach as Richard Nixon Having gotten his doctors' OK, Stacy Keach is expected to return to the stage Friday, after a mild stroke last week, resuming his role as Richard Nixon in three of the five final performances of "Frost/Nixon" at the Ahmanson Theatre.

Keach, 67, also will perform the evenings of Saturday and Sunday, said Ahmanson spokesman Ken Werther. Bob Ari, Keach's understudy in the touring production, took over March 17 when the star began a six-day hospitalization. Ari will play Nixon tonight, as well as in special matinees for students on Wednesday and Thursday; he'll also take the lead for matinee performances Saturday and Sunday, sparing Keach the strain of doing two shows a day.

Keach suffered a “very mild stroke”  that resulted in “no impairment whatsoever” to his speech or his ability to move, according to his media representatives.

Ticket holders for tonight's show and Saturday and Sunday matinee will have the choice of a refund, an exchange to see one of Keach's performances, or attending with Ari in the lead. So far, fewer than 200 ticket holders have opted for refunds or exchanges because of Keach's absence, Werther said.

When Keach is performing, Ari will return to his usual supporting role as Bob Zelnick, a television journalist who helps TV personality David Frost prepare for his round of interviews with the disgraced former president.

-- Mike Boehm

Photo: Stacy Keach as Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon." Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times