New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

By Gary Wien

originally published: 10/05/2016

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

The first show of a season is generally important, but the first show after winning a Regional Tony Award is really important.  It means everybody is paying closer attention to you now.  Paper Mill Playhouse (winner of the 2016 Regional Tony Award) pulls out all the stops and delivers with The Producers, proving that they’re ready for the extra attention.

The Producers features beautiful show girls, tons of dancing, slapstick comedy, double entendres, inside jokes, and plenty of laughs from the dialogue and the songs itself.  With a wonderful and creative design that offers at least a half dozen sets, Paper Mill’s production moves quickly from place to place -- sometimes looking surreal, sometimes reminscient of a live action cartoon -- but always intriguing and eye catching.

For the past few years, every production of The Producers outside of New York City likely had audience members thinking about Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane in the show that dominated Broadway.  With the recent passing of Gene Wilder, it’s likely audience members had him and the original Mel Brooks film on their mind during the show.  I know I did.  And I’m sure he would have enjoyed Paper Mill’s production.

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”The story begins after another failure by Max Bialystock (played by Michael Kostroff), a Broadway producer that is on a serious losing streak.  He doesn’t understand why the hits no longer come for him.  After all, he is a theatrical genius.  Among his many creations was “theatre in the square — nobody had a good seat!”

We move into his office where Leo Bloom (David Josefsberg), the accountant, appears.  He’s a nervous guy - rather paranoid actually - who tugs at a tiny blue blanket when he’s scared.  As he looks over Max’s books, he casually throws out the line that it looks like someone could actually make more money from a show that fails big time.  Max wants to hear more.



The article continues after this ad

 


“Let’s assume you are a dishonest man,” said Bloom.

“Assume away!” replies Bialystock with words that sounds like they're coming straight from Mel Brooks himself.

Leo explains how with a little creative accounting, a producer would make more from a show that loses money than a successful one. Upon hearing that Max gets an idea.  He wants to work with Leo on creating a show destined to fail. Despite admitting that he always wanted to be a Broadway producer, Leo declines the offer.  He’s afraid of getting caught.  But after returning to his office and seeing his mundane life once again, he decides to give it a shot.

“Bloom, where are you going? You’ve already had your toilet break,” says his boss.

“I’m not going to the toilet, I’m going into show business!” Bloom exclaims.

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

The two pour through script after script in search of a bonafide disaster.  Just when things appear hopeless, Max stumbles upon Springtime for Hitler.  They immediately seek out the playwright, Franz Liebkind (John Treacy Egan) to secure the rights.  He is found on top of a building with his birds.  A dedicated follower of Adolf Hitler, Franz demands they pledge allegiance to the Führer before he gives them the rights to his play, which is basically a love letter to Hitler.  Keep your eye on the birds, they're hilarious as they prance along to the songs.

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

Once they get the rights from Franz, their mission moves on to getting Roger De Bris (Kevin Pariseau) on board as director.  Known as the worst director on Broadway, Roger lives with his entire production crew — a truly interesting cast of characters that look like they came straight from a Village People music video shoot.  Leo is scared out of his mind in this world and thinks they are in too deep.  "I'll tell you when we're getting in too deep," says Max. 

Roger thinks the play is too dark for him, but is ultimately convinced to sign on to the project when Max throws out the idea of winning a Tony.  The rooms explodes into a celebration with the song "Keep It Gay" -- exactly how Roger imagines the play... He also thinks it needs a happy ending.  Maybe Germany winning the war or something like that.  The crazier he talks, the more Max believes they'll have a production that will close before its final act.

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

Feeling on top of the world, the two return to their office where a beautiful woman named Ulla soon appears.  She wants to audition for a role even though they haven’t posted auditions yet. Looking at her, they decide they'll gladly make an exception.  She not only gets a role but gets hired as their secretary.

"We may be sitting down, but I assure you we're both giving you a standing ovation," Max says after Ulla's sexy performance leaves them rather breathless.

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

With rights to the script and a bad director on board, Max begins the process of raising the money.  Leo asks how much of their own money will they have to put into the show.

“There are two rules for being a Broadway producer,” explained Max.  “Rule number 1 - never put your own money in a show.  Rule number 2 - never put your own money into a show.”

Instead, Max raises money the old fashioned way - literally - by playing gigolo to wealthy old ladies. Lots of them in fact; all remembered by names like “Hold-Me-Touch-Me” and “Lick-me Bite Me.”  He isn’t proud of the system he has in place but it works, and he soon has a safe full of cash.

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

Highlights of the first act include “I Wanna Be A Producer” which takes place within an extremely trippy scene involving Leo Bloom and a group of showgirls; Franz, Max, and Leo on top of the building singing German tunes; “When You Got It, Flaunt It” — Ulla’s audition song; and the outrageously funny scene inside the home of Roger De Bris in which Carmen Ghia - Roger’s assistant (played by Mark Price) become’s the production’s leading scene stealer. The entire scene from trying to convince Roger to the celebration afterwards is the play at its best.

As funny as the first act is things get even funnier when you see the actual production of Springtime for Hitler.   The show’s title song is one of the show's best standout moments.  Will Leo and Max succeed in creating another bomb? Or will their disaster be so bad people love it?

Paper Mill’s production has an outstanding cast, highlighted by Michael Kostroff who is terrific as Max Bialystock; Mark Price is hilarious as Carmen Ghia; Ashley Spencer brings tremendous sex appeal to Ulla; John Treacy Egan is fantastic as Franz Liebkind; and the showgirls are simply stunning.

Paper Mill not only lives up to its Tony, the company actually pokes fun of it! The Producers runs now through October 23 at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive) in Millburn.  Don’t miss it!

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

PHOTOS 1,2,5,8 - By Billy Bustamante.  PHOTOS 3,4,6,7 by Jerry Dalia




For more by this author, click here






Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.