Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'The Producers' an Over-the-Top Homage to Broadway Tradition

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'The Producers' an Over-the-Top Homage to Broadway Tradition

Article excerpt

Byline: TANYA PEREZ-BRENNAN, The Times-Union

Lighten up, Jacksonville.

Hordes of people were understandably anxious for the theater doors to open for the premiere of Mel Brooks' The Producers on Tuesday night at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. But once folks were comfortably seated and the musical had started, they should have been rolling over with laughter.

Amid the show's suggestive choreography and jabs at repressed old ladies, sexy blondes, Irish cops, and gay actors, audience members seemed unable to muster anything more than the stiff grins plastered all over their faces.

Some people had the right idea, like the two women seated nearby and the two behind me who couldn't stop laughing.

Neither could I. In fact, I could hardly write down my thoughts in my notebook. It was what I expected and more: a funny, over-the-top production infused with zany jokes, and an homage to the old Broadway tradition of theater.

The Producers, based on Brooks' 1968 cult film, is the story of conniving, down-on-his-luck producer Max Bialystock (Bob Amaral) and his meek, mousy accountant Leo Bloom (Andy Taylor). Their scheme is to put on a lousy production that will fail miserably and allow them to pocket the remaining money used to put on the show.

Their choice of a flop is Springtime for Hitler, written by a neurotic Hitler-loving German, Franz Liebkind (Bill Nolte), who keeps pigeons on a Greenwich Village rooftop.

The production put out nice energy from the beginning with The King of Broadway, Max's lament about lost success that basically sets the tone for the rest of the night. The combination of Brooks' eccentric humor and Susan Stroman's brilliant directing only increased the hilarity and ridiculousness from there.

One scene that stood out as solidly directed was Leo's bit, I Wanna Be a Producer. …

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