- Associated Press - Monday, November 22, 2010

LONDON (AP) - The man known to television fans worldwide as Dr. Jack Shephard from “Lost” is set to debut on the British stage.

Matthew Fox led a cast of marooned travelers for nearly six years on the television series “Lost” but will now lead a cast of two: He will play Bobby, a crass American carpenter in the inaugural production next year of “In a Forest, Dark and Deep” by Tony Award-nominated playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute.

“The West End has always been a dream,” Fox said Monday of the London area famous for its world-class theaters. “I always hoped I’d have the opportunity to work here.”

“Forest” will center on the sibling rivalry between Bobby and his university dean sister, Betty, to be played by Olivia Williams, the British actress known for her roles in movies such as “The Sixth Sense” and “The Ghost Writer.”

The move from screen to stage isn’t without its challenges, Fox said, “but I find challenges in every new thing I do.”

It is not Fox’s first role on stage, but it is his first in Britain, far away from his family.

“The hardest thing about this was taking the time away from my wife and children,” he said. “But I couldn’t shake this feeling that I was the right person to play Bobby.”

LaBute, who wrote and will direct “Forest,” was nominated for a Tony award in 2009 for his play “Reasons to Be Pretty,” which was staged on Broadway. He also directed the films “In the Company of Men,” “Nurse Betty,” and “The Wicker Man.”

LaBute, who has already staged plays in London, said he was excited to return.

“Like any guest, though, eventually I’ll probably stay longer than you’ll want me,” he said.

The production will debut in March 2011 at the Vaudeville Theatre.