HUG IT OUT OF A JOB: Despite good reviews, Jeremy Piven has left the Broadway production of David Mamet's Speed-The-Plow, due to "a high level of mercury." (The article hints that perhaps "mercury" was not the real reason for his abrupt departure.) More interesting is that Broadway fave Norbert Leo Butz (Wicked, Thou Shalt Not, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Is He Dead?) will be replacing Piven in the production on an interim basis.
ETA: Butz will replace Piven for performances from December 23 through January 11. William H. Macy takes over January 13 through the run's end in February. Barring a ruling from the Tony committee, neither Butz nor Macy will be eligible for awards, which are reserved for opening night performers absent special permission.