Join us for the Portland area premiere of this Tony Award-winning musical!
Mel Brooks will once again have audiences roaring with laughter when his hilarious smash-hit comedy, The Producers, opens on Lakewood Theatre's main stage Friday, July 10. The show runs in all its outrageous, madcap glory through August 23. Directed by Alan Shearman (A Flea In Her Ear, Accomplice, Lend Me A Tenor) with musical direction by Jeffrey Kauffman and choreography by Erin Shannon (Wild Party, Pippin) the show promises to make everyone's summer a whole lot brighter... and funnier.
Brooks' raucous, in-your-face musical comedy features two wily producers (Jay Pevney and Todd Tschida) who, with the help of their curvy blonde bombshell assistant Ulla (Sara Catherine Wheatley), conspire to cook the books and produce the worst musical - and biggest flop - ever, then run off with the investors' unspent money. Called the "biggest hit in Broadway history," The Producers won more Tony Awards (12) than any other musical, including Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical. Lakewood is proud to present the Portland area premiere of this exciting romp.
Director Alan Shearman calls this project "a monster of a show, with all the key ingredients for a side-splitting evening - brassy tunes, lavish production numbers, laugh-a-minute comedy, a dash of romance and all the over-the-top Mel Brooks humor you can handle." While not for young kids, open-minded audiences will appreciate the crazy satirical humor as Mel Brooks takes jabs at everyone! Old ladies tap dance with their walkers, Nazi soldiers goose-step to Springtime For Hitler and a flaming director with an affinity for dressing in drag orchestrates it all. There's no end to the nonsense!
The Producers opens Friday, July 10 at Lakewood Theatre Company and continues until August 23 with the following performance schedule: Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 PM (note NEW TIME); Sundays at 7:00 PM on July 12, 19, 26 & Aug 2 and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM on July 19, August 9, 16 & 23. The theatre is located at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street in Lake Oswego. Ticket prices are $30 for adults and $28 for students and seniors and are available through the Lakewood Theatre Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or order online at www.lakewood-center.org. The title sponsor for The Producers is Sonia Johnson in honor of Cynthia Glazer.
Max Bialystock (Jay Pevney) and Leopold Bloom (Todd Tschida) discover a surefire way to make a fortune on Broadway: raise millions from little old lady investors, produce the worst play in a long history of flops, then run off with the unspent money when the play closes on opening night. They think they've found their perfect play in Springtime for Hitler - but anything can happen when the lights go up on Broadway!
Adding to the crazy mix of characters is Ulla (Sara Catherine Wheatley), the producers' beautiful assistant, unstable playwright Franz Liebkind (Burl Ross), hack director Roger De Bris (Tim Smith) and his flamboyant assistant Carmen Ghia (Joseph J. Klei).
The Cast & Crew
Making up the large ensemble are veteran Portland area musical performers Kelly Stewart, Megan H. Carver, Erin Shannon, Rick Warren, Joan Freed, Marissa Neitling, Jennifer Post, Benjamin Farmer, Anthony Chan, Lisa Zandy, Eva Elizabeth Wolff, Clay Neal, Tracy Turner, Tiarra Roberts, Samuel Benedict and Eric Asakawa.
Stage design is by Rod Langdahl, lighting design is by Kurt Herman, wig design is by Jane Holmes, properties are by Jim Crino and sound design is by Dan Hallberg. The stage manager is Ann Moore, production consultant is Felix Kelsey, choreography is by Erin Shannon and tap choreography for "Along Came Bialy" is by Terry Brock. The show is produced by Kay Vega.
Please note: The Producers contains occasional strong language and suggestive dialogue.
Director's NotesSurprisingly, the success of the original 1968 Mel Brooks movie The Producers happened by accident. MGM, nervous about releasing a film called Springtime For Hitler, had changed the title, but they still weren't sure. Would audiences really laugh at Hitler? Could they? The film was destined to sink without trace. Then Peter Sellers saw it by chance at a tiny screening room on Rodeo Drive called the Aidikoff, The movie they were supposed to screen hadn't arrived, so the projectionist suggested everyone view this oddball, unreleased film instead. Sellers loved it, took out whole page ads in the trades and made calls to the studio heads urging them to release it. It worked - and as the release expanded and word of mouth spread, The Producers became a box office smash, eventually winning two Oscars (Mel Brooks for Screenplay and Gene Wilder for Supporting Actor).
Over the years, the idea of turning the film into a stage musical arose many times, but it was music mogul David Geffen's dogged persistence that persuaded Brooks to agree. Sadly, the journey to Broadway was not without accident either. Original British director, Mike Ockrent, succumbed to cancer. His grief-stricken wife, choreographer Susan Stroman, felt she couldn't continue and asked to be released from the show. Brooks not only persuaded her to stay, he asked her to direct the show in addition to choreographing it. She finally agreed... and the rest is history.
It's no accident, however, that Lakewood Theatre is presenting the Portland area premiere of the show. In the pipeline for several years, the rights were snapped up the day they became available. With Kay producing, Jay on board as Max, and Erin and Jeffrey heading up the choreography and music it was all systems go. It's been that way, 24/7, for six months - a wonderful, exuberant ride with the bar continually being raised higher and higher as the dreams grew grander and grander. This year, Lakewood's Summer Show is a full-blown tent-pole production with the strongest cast and phenomenally talented Ensemble you are ever likely to see anywhere.
It's not by accident that you'll have an accident laughing yourself silly. Enjoy!
The theatre is located at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street in Lake Oswego. Ticket prices are $30 for adults and $28 for students and seniors and are available through the Lakewood Theatre Box Office at (503) 635-3901.