American stage star Maria Friedman has returned to the New York City stage only a week after undergoing surgery for breast cancer.

The 45-year-old has rejoined the cast of the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Woman In White for preview performances - and will take the lead role in the official opening show on Thursday (17NOV05).

The three time Olivier Award-winner was temporarily replaced by her understudy Lisa Brescia when she discovered a lump on one of her breasts on 3 November (05).

She tells the New York Daily News, "I'm not going for hero status. I'm doing what I can do, with enormous support."