“Here I go again, I hear the trumpets blow again ….” Oops … wrong show! Remember that one? Me neither. (Cabin in the Sky, 1943)
Guys and Gals, if you weren’t able to see Mel Brooks’ musical, THE PRODUCERS, on Broadway (2001 to 2007), directed and choreographed by Wilmington, Delaware’s Susan Stroman, here’s your second chance to catch this production, directed by Darrin Peters, at The Players Club of Swarthmore. (Before I continue, just know that the New York production was based on Mel Brooks’ 1968 film of the same name.)
Love musicals? Like to laugh? Enjoy a little raunchiness mixed with not over-the-top sexy and mucho sarcasm? Then you’re in for a night of F-U-N! No chance for catching 40 winks. Bring the binocs! Really. There are some details you don’t want to miss. (Pay attention to the “little white doves”.) Battery up those hearing things! The sound, at times, dives in and out. (Kind of annoying, actually.) And, above all, LIGHTEN UP! One word of caution, Moms and Dads. Should you decide to bring the kids, know that there is one curse word no one would have any difficulty hearing (unless you forget to test the batteries or you don’t pay attention or … no, I’ll stop). Discuss before you get to the show, not after.
On with the show! The setting takes place on New York’s Great White Way in 1959. Max Bialystock (David T. Wills), an aging, frustrated down-on-his-luck producer, connects with his young, timid, neurotic, but endearing, accountant, Leo Bloom (Brendan Sheehan). (I’m throwing in “cute” on the latter; and he sure can sing and dance! No, Max, you’re not chopped liver.) Here’s the deal: They need to raise big bucks to produce a show guaranteed to fail; the show is expected to flop, therefore, there will be no money to show for it; the jerks, I mean guys, will suck up the profits. Except for one oops … The show is a HIT! And here comes TROUBLE, with a capital “T”!! (I love it!) Oh, BTW, the show is called “Springtime for Hitler”. You fill in the blanks.
Now, you know there’s always a love story in most, if not all, musicals. Enter ooh-la-la Ulla (Carrie Share), a Svedish not-so-dumb blonde leggy bombshell. (Costumers, a very hi-cut bodice would make her legs look even longer.) Guess who falls in love with her? Do I have to tell you everything??
Roger DeBris, played by Sean Murray, and Carmen Ghia, played by Randino Del Rosario, are a HOOT! I know you guys love center stage, and you have the attitude to own it, however, here’s the rub (and it’s not really your problem): When a director, in his Playbill notes, informs us that we’re about to see a two hour show with a 15 minute intermission, then that’s what the audience expects. Getting out at 11:20 is a long time to sit for people with physical issues, as well as a little late for elders, young kids and impatient participants, not mentioning anyone in particular, but if you’re reading this, you know who you are. I realize there were many time-consuming scene changes, however, and maybe it’s too late now, considering how to simplify sets might be in order.
Coming back to sound: My experience with music per se is minimal, but I believe I know what sounds, at the very least, right. I’m wondering how the score would sound with just the piano, and, even with that alone, perhaps it too could be toned down to not overpower the singing.
Choreographers (Maria, Becca and Darrin), thank you so much for providing us with super entertainment, especially that fabulous tap number. (I’m so sorry I quit tap in first grade.) There were quite a few times I felt like joining in; I’m sure many felt the same. That said, then I’d call it a job well done. There are so many songs in this show worth hearing over and over again. (My favs – “I Wanna Be a Producer” and “Till Him”) A great CD to own! Wondering what your fav will be …?
I wanna be a producer
With a hit show on Broadway
I wanna be a producer
Lunch at Sardi’s every day.
I wanna be a producer …
(Lyrics by Mel Brooks)
Till the next show…
Book by Thomas Meehan & Mel Brooks
Music & Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Directed by Darrin Peters
October 22 – November 6, 2010
Players Club of Swarthmore
614 Fairview Road