“The Producers”: Organized Irreverence
Published March 24, 2017 on Morgan Hill Life’s website
By Camille Bounds
Broadway By the Bay reached high with its production of “The Producers.” The bar is set high and it is leaped over with space to spare. This is one of the best productions of this glorious screwy play that entertains at over the top speed with a super direction and a terrific cast that delivers with a gusto that reaches over the footlights.
Taken from the original Brooks 1968 movie that starred Zero Mostel and Gene Hackman, Brooks must have saved all the outtakes that they could not use and anything that had extraordinary bad taste that had to be thrown out because of censors and added it to this story. Somehow it works.
The Broadway production with Nathan Lane broke records by winning 12 Tony Awards in just about every category offered.
Mel Brooks zany, over the top, wonderfully tasteless comedy “The Producers” arrived at the Fox Theatre and Redwood City may never be the same. This is the most irreverent, tribute to musical theatre ever produced. Just when you think it can’t get any more outrageous it gets more outrageous. It hits on every race, creed, ethnic group and gender no one is left out and you find yourself completely hysterical at jokes you would never consider laughing at or even thinking about.
Jasen Jeffrey’s direction and chorographer Nicole Helfer is wild and leaps to the outer fringe of imagination. From a backup group of Nazi cooing pigeons to little old ladies doing a tap dance with walkers – the shtick never stops.
Sean Kana’s magnificent 18 piece orchestra completes the offering with splendid music that does not miss a cue. Scenic Design by Kelly James Tighe, lighting by Aaron s Pivey, sound Jon Hayward with stunning costumes by Leandra Watson bring in a upscale production.
This burlesque-like kaleidoscope orbits around Max Bialystock (bombastic Marcos Klinger ) and his colorless accountant Leo Bloom (convincing Robert Lopez). Characters with no redeeming qualities whatsoever blend their characters with believability.
The Bialystock role is demanding, physical and artistic at the same time. He is in just about every scene and the energy expended must have him loose pounds each performance. and gives the part the grating edge it needs .
Robert Lopez in the Bloom role gives the part a bump in the right direction and gives the mousy bookkeeper trying to turn producer a heads up with fine singing and good timing.
Bialystock and Bloom decide to produce a flop so they won’t have to pay off backers, (little old ladies whom Bialystock woos out of their life’s savings. ). They find the worst most offense play possible, called “Springtime for Hitler”. They hire the worst director possible played by Eric Johnson, who plays the drag/queen director Roger De Bris to its campy hilt. Alex Rodiguez comes across as his assistant, Carmen Ghia with the persistence of a runaway train turned gay. (Picture that if you can.)
The brightest light of the production is Jocelyn Pickett who makes Ulla hers alone. She “is” the Swedish, extremely well built blond sexy secretary. She comes across as a delight that sings and dances with equal ease.
The “Springtime for Hitler” extravaganza production number, gathers every piece of politically incorrect camp that can be found and unabashedly flings it at you with glittered swastika armbands, gorgeous showgirls in stunning costumes; decorated with everything from beer steins, pretzels and wieners, to a takeoff of Judy Garland. Nothing is left out that will insult or make for cringing but somehow, as I said, it works, and is one of the most outrageously, entertaining musical numbers that is completely off the wall.
“The Producers” an extremely well done production and is well worth your time and investment. This is definitely an adult friendly show.
Camille Bounds is the arts and entertainment editor for Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life.
Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks; book by Mel Brooks and Tom Meehan.
Where: Fox Theater,
2215 Broadway Street
When: Through April 2
Tickets and information: $44-$66 –
Call: 650-369-7770 or visit broadwaybythebay.org
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