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Previewed 22 October 2004, Opened 9 November 2004, Closed 6 January 2007 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Theatre in London
The Producers, the new Mel Brooks musical, is the story of down-on-his-luck theatrical producer Max Bialystock and his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom. Together, they hatch the ultimate theatrical scam: to raise more money than they need to produce a sure-fire Broadway disaster... and then to pocket the left-over cash when the show flops. Their guaranteed-to-fail fiasco? Springtime for Hitler: The Musical.
WINNER! BEST MUSICAL! x 3! - Evening Standard Theatre Awards - Critics' Circle Theatre Awards - Laurence Olivier Awards
Three years ago, he was finally persuaded to adapt The Producers, the Academy Award-winning film, for the Broadway musical stage. The result was beyond the dreams of Mel Brooks and multi award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman. The Producers became the biggest ever hit in Broadway history, sweeping up a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards. The Producers has music and lyrics by Mel Brooks and book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Directed and Choreographed by Susan Stroman with scenic designs by Robin Wagner, costumes by William Ivey Long and lighting by Peter Kaczorowski.
There are few people who can reduce an audience to tears of helpless laughter more readily than Mel Brooks. Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The History of the World Part 1, To Be or Not to Be, High Anxiety and Spaceballs: these and many other movies bear the unmistakable stamp of Brooks's unique, crazy and quirky sense of humour.
"Bialystock persuades elderly ladies to invest in his productions by sexually servicing them. The director of Springtime and his associates are grotesque stereotype gays. Hitler sings a ditty about 'hitching up his pants' and conquering France (to rhyme with 'pants'). I don't altogether object to such things in principle. But there is a vital distinction to be drawn between good bad taste and bad bad taste, and much of the bad taste here is plain awful. Try the posters that adorn Bialystock's office, for instance. One is for an old show called The Kidney Stone, the one underneath for a show called This Too Shall Pass... Susan Stroman directs; she is also responsible for the high-voltage choreography." The Sunday Telegraph
"Three years after it stormed Broadway, scooping a record-breaking number of awards, and days after the song and dance about losing leading man Richard Dreyfuss, Mel Brooks's long-awaited, £5.5 million musical comedy The Producers has opened in London. As many of you will remember from Brooks's 1968 film, is a show about showbiz, the story of a shyster-producer, Max Bialystock, who has an unusual band of angels - devilishly randy old ladies with whom he trades favours. In return for his acting out their chosen fantasy, they provide the cash for Max's terrible shows. Bialystock and his accountant, Leo Bloom (sometime stand-up Lee Evans), hatch a failsafe scheme to fill the company coffers. Max will raise the money as usual, but spend just a tiny fraction of it on staging a deliberate megaflop, guaranteed to offend - a Nazi musical entitled Springtime For Hitler, a crazy loveletter to Adolf written by a mad German pigeon-fancier. Despite Max's worst efforts, the show, complete with Nazi stormtroopers goose-stepping in the pattern of a swastika in the style of the great Busby Berkeley, is a stonking great hit. After Dreyfuss left, director choreographer Susan Stroman managed to persuade Nathan Lane, the star of the Broadway production, to step into the role of Bialystock. Lane is fabulous, worth every penny of the £39,000 he's earning every week, which is more than you can say of most Premiership footballers. What's more, to judge from the buckets of sweat pouring down his expressively funny, pug-like face, Lane is working much harder than they do. Lane is Hardy to Evans's Laurel. Both are comedians of genius, wonderful physical performers with flawless comic timing, never failing to land the laughs... The brilliance of the piece stems partly from Brooks's shamelessness. His film famously put the camp into Mein Kampf, but this show is even more outrageous. He recycles some of the oldest jokes in the business. Brooks seizes every opportunity for humour. At one point, two wholly gratuitous ultra-flamboyant characters turn up from nowhere - one half-naked and in the purple headdress of a Cherokee Indian - to join them for a conga round the office... I sailed out of this glorious, hilarious, blissfully funny show, my soul dust-free." The Mail on Sunday
"This musical version of the film creates all kinds of meta-textual fun, the play within a play creating an audience within an audience. Sitting in the Theatre Royal, you become the shocked and dazzled Broadway first-nighters [of Springtime for Hitler]... The film might have gone down in comic history, but the sheer razzle-dazzle of this production realises its vision with spectacle to spare. Robin Wagner's set design is everything you want from a blockbusting musical, from the stylised New York backdrop to the tricks and treats that the set throws up... There are, however problems... It is too long and occasionally plodding, and, despite the effervescence of the cast, not every song is a show stopper." The Sunday Times
The Producers in London at the Drury Lane Theatre previewed from 22 October 2004, opened on 9 November 2004 and closed on 6 January 2007.