The Best Show In Town
In 1967 Mel Brooks wrote and directed 'The Producers' starring Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock, the has-been producer who was once on top of the world as the King of Broadway and Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom, who played the accountant a young man who is highly nervous and prone to hysterics. This hilarious musical comedy had you laughing out loud with the comedic drama of merriment and exuberance.
In 2001 a live stage version starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick opened up on Broadway and went on to win a record of 12 Tony Awards, making it a conspicuous success in box office history! 'The Producers' was once again made into a major motion picture in 2005 by Susan Stroman, starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Uma Thurman. All three versions of this story were a sheer delight to watch to see obscene portrayals of characters in absurd, ridiculous situations.
The outrageously funny show ‘The Producers" is brought back in grandeur Paramount style. Director Jim Corti brings to the stage the over- the- top 'Paramount-Sized' story where no stereotype is safe such as flamboyant Nazis, caricatures, accents, and many show business in-jokes, with all of the laughs, flair, sassiness and yes class to surely make Mel Brooks proud!
Here's a refresher if you're not familiar with the movie or the play to get your comedic juices flowing, 'The Producers' is set in New York in 1959 Max Bialystock (Blake Hammond) a theatre producer opens and closes a play all in one night; "Funny Boy," a musical version of Hamlet. Once a big-time producer, but after failing to make hit plays which led to one too many flops; he has resorted to seducing little old ladies out of their money to finance his plays.
Leo Bloom (Jake Morrissy) is Max accountant, who while looking over Max's books, tells him of his life-long dream of becoming a producer; which Max sarcastically tells him to keep his day job. Leo, who is an Aphephobia, has a panic attack when Max touches his childhood blue blanket, discovers a $2,000 accounting error and learns that Max raised $100,000 for "Funny Boy," but the play only cost $98,000. Max pleads to Leo to hide the discrepancy, and after some calculations, Leo realizes that under the right circumstances a producer can make more money with a flop than a Broadway hit.
Ever the swindler, Mr. Bialystock concocts a plan to team up with Leo and scheme his financial backers by producing a surefire flop. They only needed to find the worst play ever written, the worst director, hire the worst actors then raise two million dollars, open and flop on Broadway and then escape to Rio.
First, they needed to find the playwright of the horrific play, and after hours of searching, Max felt he found the flop of all flops called ‘Springtime For Hitler' by Ex-Nazi Franz Liebkind (Ron E. Rains). Finding this fanatical Nazi, on the roof of his home attending to his pigeons and reminiscing about the grand old days ("In Old Bavaria") Max felt ensured we found a winner, however, Franz provided some unusual challenges. After much persuasion vowing never to dishonor "the spirit and the memory of Adolf Elizabeth Hitler," ("NEVER," this is a Max Brooks play) they secure the rights to the play.
Sean Blake plays the part of the worst director in town, was brilliant in his portrayal of the charismatic character, Mr. Roger Elizabeth DeBris. Debris is dressed in an evening gown that makes him look like ‘The Chrysler Building' who insists that the only way he will sign on to direct the play is if they ‘Keep it, sunny, funny and gay' and rewrite the second act!'
Swedish bombshell Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson (Elyse Collier), let's call her Ulla, wants to audition for their next play. Collier does an impressive job playing the role of Ulla and Max mesmerized by her beauty definitely want to keep her around.
Sean Blake who is a four-time Jeff Award nominee and one time recipient do an exceptional job as Debris putting him in great company with Christopher Hewett who starred in the 1967 version and Gary Beach in the 2005 film version of the same role. Adam Fane as Carmen Ghia was another star in this performance. Sean and Fane will both make you hysterically giggle. They are Fruit Loops of fun.
Blake Hammond and Jake Morrissy would make Mel Brooks proud. Their slap-stick humor and antics are hilarious. If you are not laughing at this show, check your pulse.
‘The Producers' is a lighthearted musical with beautiful costumes, a vibrant scenic set, and a great musical score.
Let's Play 'Highly Recommend' that you see 'The Producers. You will enjoy the never-ending crazy antics, which will make for a night of loud, boisterous laughter, but, what you expect from a Mel Brooks show. It's after all the best comedy play in town, and it happens to be at Paramount Theatre!
Paramount Theatre Presents
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Directed by Jim Corti
February 6 – March 17, 2019
Filed under: ChicagoNow