According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Review: “The Producers” by Evan Robert Pohl

ATTENTION! ATTENTION! BROADWAY LOWERS TICKET PRICES! The Gods of the Great White Way have finally come to their senses by allowing the masses behind the velvet ropes of some of B’Way’s hottest shows. “The Producers,” Mel Brooks’ smash musical comedy and winner of a historic 12 Tony Awards—a show previously garnering ticket sales up to $400—can now be seen for a meager $10.75!

Oh, wait. Wait a minute—my mistake. That’s the ticket price to see the film. Oops. Silly me. The staged musical adaptation is still outrageously overpriced.

But, you can understand my confusion, can’t you? Because if you’ve seen the recently released remake of Brooks’ 1968 comedy classic you’d mix ‘em up, too. You see, there isn’t much to distinguish “The Producers” at the St. James from “The Producers” at the Ziegfeld. Susan Stroman, director of the film’s Broadway incarnation, and producers Mel Brooks and Jonathan Sanger have improved upon so little in between the opening of the show in 2001 and its nation-wide release four years later, the only noticeable differences are a few cast changes.

In its current version the pizzazz of the original “Producers” musical is nowhere to be found (thanks in part to Peter Rogness’ blindingly transparent art direction, though largely to blame on Stroman’s muddled cinematic translation). Leo Bloom’s big number? Flat. Roger De Bris’ hilarious Hilter-turned-hussy? Flaccid. Ulla’s tantalizingly titular audtition? Yawn. About the only asset spared by the director/choreographer’s destructive adaptation is the genius comedic pairing of Roger Bart and Gary Beach, who steal the film and make you wish for a spin-off.

Well, sort of. If “The Producers” movie has given us anything it’s the certainty this franchise should be killed. The only advise I can offer: stay alert and aware of the Brooks moneymaking machine. “Young Frankenstein” will soon be heading our way and you know “Spaceballs: The Musical” isn’t far off.

“The Producers,” 134 min. Opens nationwide January 13th, 2006.
For tickets call (212)307-4389 or visit

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