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BWW Reviews: Ivoryton Playhouse’s THE PRODUCERS Has Got It and Flaunts It

Here are excepts from the review…

With a musical about a con artist trying to mount a flop show, Ivoryton Playhouse has ended up with a hit on its hands.  Unlike Mel Brooks‘ failed producer Max Bialystock, Ivoryton’s charming theatre was aiming for a smash with The Producers and they have succeeded.  The Opening Night audience was doubled over with laughter throughout and it was gratifying to see the small shoreline company stretch well beyond its comfort zone with such a large, technically-complicated show.   Although Bialystock’s shows generally send critics and audiences fleeing the theatre at intermission, audiences should hurry to quaint Ivoryton to see a revival of the show that won the most Tony Awards in history.


…..Of course, for The Producers to produce the goods, it needs a crackerjack Max and Leo.  Ivoryton Playhouse has wisely cast R. Bruce Connelly as Bialystock.  And Connelly wisely makes no attempt to dial down Nathan Lane‘s kinetic, frenetic performance.  In fact, there are times when Connelly sounds just like Lane.  Michael McDermott‘s take on Leo Bloom is similarly inspired by Matthew Broderick‘s neurosis-addled performance.  Fortunately for McDermott, he is blessed with a stronger tenor than Ferris Bueller and matinee-idol good looks. 

William Broderick and Schuyler Beeman are scene-stealing standouts in the roles of the disastrous Director Roger DeBris and his lisping common-law assistant/houseboy  Carmen Ghia.  Broderick in particular brings the house down with his mincing “Springtime for Hitler” number.  Liz Clark Golson’s buxom bombshell Ulla indeed has a big voice, big bazooms and legs for days.  No wonder Max and Leo both fall for her Scandinavian charms…..

…..The young ensemble hoofs and sings with aplomb, particularly in the big set piece numbers “Along Came Bialy” and “Springtime for Hitler”…….he costumes designed by Vivianna Lamb are delicious (particularly the beer, pretzel and sausage showgirl outfits during “Springtime”)……John Sebastian DeNicola does a fantastic job making a 6- (7 on weekends) piece pit orchestra sound like a much larger ensemble.

One could grouse that Ivoryton does not make enough of an effort to put its own stamp on The Producers, but it would be just that, grousing.  The show is not a sure-fire hit (as the flop film version attests), so it is to the small theatre’s credit that they have stuffed this stellar revival on their stage with fewer resources.  Bravo to Ivoryton Playhouse for celebrating its 100th birthday with a big, gaudy, glitzy musical.  When you’ve got it, flaunt it.

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