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    Post-Piven Plow Needs a Push

    Jeremy Piven, Speed-the-Plow Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

    Jeremy Piven's exit may have dug the Plow into a hole.

    According to figures released by the Broadway League, the lauded revival of  David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow took a nearly 33 percent hit at the box office last week after a mercury-addled Piven announced that he had left the production.

    Piven's doctor told E! News Thursday that his patient's mercury levels were "amazingly, shockingly high," probably due to the actor's twice-a-day sushi habit, and he had recommended that Piven drop out of the play immediately.

    Subsequently, ticket sales were down about $160,000 from the previous week as the Ethel Barrymore Theatre filled to only about 50 percent capacity.

    But maybe Speed-the-Plow had just been playing to a particularly Hollywood-hungry crowd.

    Past Oscar nominee William H. Macy and Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz have been tapped as a tag-team replacement for Piven's shady studio exec, but it was Piven's understudy, Jordan Lage, who had eight shows to do before Butz steps in tomorrow.

    And no offense to Lage, but maybe most Big Apple theatergoers didn't want to further drain their already shrunken bank accounts on a relatively unknown thesp.

    But Butz will be in residence through Jan. 11, with Macy scheduled to take over until the play's run ends on Feb. 22, so we'll see whether the added star power also adds to the show's box-office receipts.

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