The newest musical to grace the stage at the Fulton Theatre is The Producers. This zany musical comedy by Mel Brooks is based on his movie by the same name from 1968. This musical is always a crowd-pleaser as it makes audiences laugh at the ridiculousness of the plot about two men who try to produce a Broadway flop. In traditional Mel Brooks style, this show is zany and politically incorrect. The Fulton’s production of The Producers, under the direction of Marc Robin, is absurd, funny and entertaining.
The thing about The Producers that makes it so popular is that the two leads in the show, Max Bialystok and Leo Bloom are supposed to be a zany duo who keep the audience laughing at every turn; these two characters‘ antics are what normally make this show hilarious. However, the direction of this particular production seems to miss the mark. It appears there was not enough trust in the material and the insertion of extra “gags” and silliness took away from the overall cleverness of what should be a laugh a minute show. That being said, most of the cast is so full of energy and antics that it is still an enjoyable production.
Randall Frizado plays the role of Max Bialystok, a flop-ridden Broadway producer. Frizado’s vocals were solid, especially in the song “Betrayed.” Nevertheless, Frizado did not come across as the zany character he should be; he did not fully inhabit the comedic aspect of his character and some scenes fell short. Andrew Kindig portrays Leo Bloom, a nervous accountant who teams up with Bialystock to produce the Broadway flop, Springtime for Hitler. Kindig always brings an energetic and physical comedic style to the stage, and this role is no exception. Kindig, along with the accountants are strong in the number, “I Wanna Be a Producer.” The supporting cast members of this production are outstanding. In a number of scenes their comedic contributions overshadow the leads and garner more laughs from the audience. In the role of Roger Debris, the diva director of Springtime for Hiter, is Jamison Stern. Stern appears to be having a grand time onstage as the character. Ben Liebert plays Carmen Ghia, Roger’s “common law” assistant. Liebert is facially expressive which will have audiences laughing. Stern and Liebert have great chemistry onstage, and these two actors inhabit their characters well in the Fulton’s production. The best number in the show is “Keep it Gay.” This number is performed by Stern and Liebert, and a crew of supporting characters that make this number energetic and dazzling. There are three members of this cast who I also need to mention because although they do not have a leading role, they shine on the stage with their energy. These three actors, Joey Abramowicz, Jessica Dey and Michael Fisher, all bring a positive energy to the stage. Abramowicz is a member of the ensemble as well as Roger Debris’s Choreographer in the “Keep it Gay” number. He brightens the stage when he appears throughout the production with his energy and sprightly personality. Dey is also a member of the ensemble as well as Debris’s Lighting Designer in the “Keep it Gay” number. She adds humor and makes audiences laugh throughout the show as she makes appearances as the uncoordinated “unselected dancer”. Michael Fisher is a member of the ensemble and he plays numerous roles throughout the show. He is a presence on stage throughout the show, and especially as a soulful accountant in the song “I Wanna Be a Producer.” Rounding out this cast is Jeffrey Coon who plays the Nazi playwright, Franz Liebkind. Coon is another bright spot in this production, he has an energetic presence onstage and appears to be having fun playing this lampoon of a character. His vocals are very strong. Coon’s rendition of “Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop” is sure to have audiences in hysterics.
The Fulton Theatre brings The Producers to Lancaster, and the show runs through April 4, 2015. However, it should be mentioned that The Producers is based on a Mel Brooks movie, and has adult themes throughout the show. For more information and tickets visit the Fulton’s website at www.thefulton.org or call their box office at 717-397-7425.
Photos courtesy of The Fulton Theatre
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.
Review also appears on Fig Lancaster.