'The Producers' Redux Don't Look for Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick When Their Broadway Smash Returns Next Week. This Version Attempts to Recapture the Magic without Star Power

By Reese, Joel | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

'The Producers' Redux Don't Look for Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick When Their Broadway Smash Returns Next Week. This Version Attempts to Recapture the Magic without Star Power


Reese, Joel, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Joel Reese Daily Herald Staff Writer

'The Producers'

The new Mel Brooks musical

Where: Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago

When: Oct. 14 through Nov. 30

Tickets: $37 to $82, available at all Broadway in Chicago box offices (call (312) 902-1400), or through Ticketmaster, (312) 559- 1212 or ticketmaster.com.

"The Producers" is coming back to Chicago, but it's kind of a good news/bad news proposition.

Let's start with the good news.

Starting Tuesday, Chicago will be graced by the same play that opened at the city's Cadillac Palace Theatre in 2001 and went on to win a truckload of Tony Awards (including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Score, Best Director and Best Leading Actor categories).

Now for the bad news: Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are nowhere to be found. The two actors who began as the hilariously misguided duo of Bialystock and Bloom have left the production and moved on with their careers.

Instead, audiences will find the Brad Oscar and Andy Taylor playing the lead roles.

Brad and Andy who?

Isn't "The Producers" without Lane and Broderick like the Captain without Tennille? Peanut butter without jelly? Homer Simpson without the comb-over?

No, insists the legendary Mel Brooks, who wrote the tale about two men who produce the play "Springtime for Hitler" in the hopes that it will bomb - only to see it become a hit.

"We're very happy with both of them - Brad is absolutely wonderful, and Andy is just terrific," the gregarious Brooks said at the show's Boston opening in July. "People are going to just love them."

Others aren't quite so sure.

"'The Producers' is a star-vehicle show, and you need someone with a lot of charisma and star power in both roles," says Rick Boynton, artistic director for the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire. "I hear Brad Oscar is wonderful, but my parents don't know who Brad Oscar is. They certainly know who Nathan Lane is."

Changing from Lane

Before show-goers sprint downtown to return their tickets, we should note that this isn't such a rare occurrence. The road version of a play often features lesser-known actors than the Broadway edition.

But some shows, such as "Funny Girl" with Barbra Streisand or "Hello, Dolly" with Carol Channing, were so inextricably linked to the stars that it became almost impossible for anyone else to play those roles.

Such a fate could await Oscar and Taylor, says New York theater writer Bob Johnson.

"With Lane and Broderick gone, the show's producers are left selling 'The Producers' on its own merits, which is fine," Johnson says. "But I bet money that what people remember about 'The Producers' is that it's Nathan and Matthew's show, not Mel's."

Lane casts an especially long shadow, Boynton of Lincolnshire says.

"It's going to be hard for Brad Oscar. Nathan Lane is a really tough act to follow," he says.

Even finding these two wasn't easy - British stage star Henry Goodman, the initial replacement for Lane, was axed after just a few weeks of previews.

Physically, Oscar certainly possesses all the requisite Bialystock characteristics: the easily bugged eyes, the bulky body and the larger-than-life stage presence.

But it's a tough task, following in Lane's footstep. Oscar's big test comes with "Betrayed," Bialystock's song from prison that recaps the play and traces his journey to the big house, while Bloom is in Rio with the leggy Swede, Ulla.

Although he claims the role for his own early in the show, Oscar cements his star status with this show-stopper.

He commands the stage with authority during the big number, drawing huge laughs with Brooks' lyrics, "Like Samson and Delilah, your love began to fade/I'm crying in the hoosegow, you're in Rio getting laid! …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'The Producers' Redux Don't Look for Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick When Their Broadway Smash Returns Next Week. This Version Attempts to Recapture the Magic without Star Power
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.