By now, you've probably heard the buzz about The Producers, Broadway's record-shattering sensation. Winner of 12 Tony Awards, the show is sold out for the next year and onward, prompting the obvious question: "Is it really that good?" The answer: yes, yes and absolutely yes.
For those of you unfamiliar with this musical by comedic genius Mel Brooks, The Producers is based on his 1968 movie of the same name. Two producers, Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) and Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick), think they have found a way to produce a show and make more money than ever before: They must produce a guaranteed flop. So, the boys set out to find the worst actors and the worst musicians for their production of Springtime for Hitler, the frolic-filled love story of Adolf and Eva (yes, you read that correctly). They are sure the play will flop--offensive and inappropriate, it insults nearly every race. However, to everyone's great surprise, the show is a monster hit. Unfortunately for Bialystock and Bloom, this means their scheming times are up and it is time to go before the judge--a cameo appearance by Brooks himself.
The Producers somehow manages to walk the razor-thin line between way too much and just enough. Some of the numbers are completely over the top, but Brooks creates a world where breaking into song and dance seems perfectly normal, with thanks in no small part to the amazing performances from Broderick and Lane, not to mention the enthralling Cady Huffman. The rest of the ensemble morphs from scene to scene. A definite standout is Bialystock's visit to Little Old Lady Land with the entire ensemble--including the men--donning dresses, fake sagging breasts, and blue haired wigs, all dancing with walkers. The scene is absolutely hysterical.
After years of Disney and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "commercial" theater, Broadway has finally produced a musical really worth seeing. The Producers is the perfect mix of old- and new-style theatre and is everything a great musical should be. If you can snag a ticket, squeeze in, sit back and enjoy.
--By Cary Hughes
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