Monthly Archive for: ‘March, 2017’

Broadway By the Bay delivers polished ‘Producers’

When Mel Brooks set out to write a musical about a musical that was supposed to flop, he created a huge hit, “The Producers.”

This hilarious show is being given a bang-up production by Broadway By the Bay.

In the book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, a once-successful Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Marcus Klinger), has just seen his latest show flop after opening night.

Returning to his office to lick his wounds, he’s joined by a nerdy accountant, Leo Bloom (Robert Lopez), who discovers that Max could make more money from a flop than a hit. After some persuasion and a bad experience with his boss, Leo decides to join forces with Max and try to produce the worst musical ever seen directed by the worst possible director.

They happen upon “Springtime for Hitler,” written by eccentric, ardent Hitler fan Franz Liebkind (David Schiller), who puts them through their paces before agreeing they can produce his show. (His pigeons are a trip in themselves.)

Their search for a director takes them to tres gay Roger De Bris (Eric Johnson) and his swishy partner, Carmen Ghia (Alex Rodriguez). Roger advises the producers to “Keep It Gay” and agrees to direct.

Once that”s all decided, Max sets about raising money in his usual way: romancing little old ladies with nicknames like Hold Me-Touch Me (Emma Onasch) and a penchant for playing risque games. Apparently the women really like it, as demonstrated in “Along Came Bialy,” complete with a precision walker routine.

And then there’s Ulla (Jocelyn Pickett), the blonde Swedish bombshell who has both Max and Leo salivating. They hire her as a secretary until the show opens with her in a lead role.

Contrary to plans, the show is a hit, causing them to ponder, “Where Did We Go Right?”

One of the challenges of staging this show is to walk its fine line between sometimes bawdy shtick and bad taste. Director Jasen Jeffrey and the large cast stay on the humorous side, leading to laughter in every scene.

This polished production is graced with outstanding comedic actor-singer-dancers in every major role and with a multi-talented ensemble. Nicole Helfer has created the inventive choreography, while Sean Kana serves as music director.

The costumes, some of them quite elaborate and colorful, are by Leandra Watson. The versatile but uncomplicated set is by Kelly James Tighe with lighting by Aaron Spivey and sound by Jon Hayward.

Running slightly more than two and a half hours with one intermission, “The Producers” is enjoyable from start to finish.

It will continue through April 2 at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway St., Redwood City. For tickets and information, call (650) 579-5565 or visit www.broadwaybythebay.org.