HELLO THERE BROADWAY FANS! We are just 18 days away till Broadway’s biggest night of the year, the 71st Annual Tony Awards. To keep ourselves warmed up and entertained, we are waking you up each morning some of Broadway’s Greatest hits on our TOP 30 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN.
At # 18, we travel back in time to New York City in 1959 where 2 sleazy Broadway producers try to make money by putting on the worst possible musical ever in Broadway history. This is The Producers. It featured a score and book and based on the acclaimed 1968 Oscar winning film of the same name by the legendary Mel Brooks.
From the 2001 telecast, the cast gears up for the long awaited opening night of the show that is trying to be a flop SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER as they perform the musical’s Act 1 finale number ALONG CAME BIALY.
Following the success of the original Oscar winning 1968 film, Mel Brooks was conceived by David Geffen in 1999 that he should write a full musical version of THE PRODUCERS. His original collaborator was originally going to be Tony winner Jerry Herman (the genius behind La Cage Aux Folles). However, Herman denied and encouraged Brooks’ to do the score himself since he was an amazing songwriter (plus he wrote SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER which is the film’s iconic song and of course is a showstopper in the musical). He also got Thomas Meehan (who previously won a Tony for the book of Annie The Musical) to help expand the story. In addition, husband and wife directing/choreographing duo Mike Ockrent and Susan Stroman came on board as well. However, Ockrent unexpectedly died in 1999 which Stroman continued to take on full leadership and director and choreographer by herself. The musical took 2 years to develop.
THE PRODUCERS officially opened in 2001 at the St. James where it ran for an incredible run of 2,502 performances on Broadway. The cast (as seen in this video) featured Tony winners Nathan Lane (later Henry Goodman, Tony Danza, John Treacy Egan, Richard Kind, Brad Oscar and Lewis J. Stadlen) as “Max Bialystotck”, Matthew Broderick (later Don Stephenson, Roger Bart, Hunter Foster, Steven Weber, and Alan Ruck) as “Leo Bloom”, Cady Huffman as “Ulla”, Gary Beach as “Roger De Bris”, and Roger Bart as “Carmen Ghia”, along with Tony nominee Brad Oscar as “Franz Liepkind”. The show grossed more than $3 million following it’s opening night. Lines for standing room and tickets would go all the way around the corner (literally like what Hamilton: An American Musical and Dear Evan Hansen is like today). However, when Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick departed, the ticket sales started to go down. However, both actors returned to the show in 2004 for a limited 5 month engagement. It was nominated for a recording breaking (at the time) 15 Tony Awards that very same year. It went on to win 11 including Best Musical. Following it’s Broadway run, the show went on to be a worldwide hit in London’s West End, across America, and around the world. Plus, productions of the show are still happening today in schools, community, and regional theatres around the world.
Following the success of the musical, a 2005 film remake (featuring the songs from the Broadway show) was made reuniting the whole original creative team majority of the original cast (including Lane and Broderick) However, the only 2 major cast changes that were in the film only was Will Ferrell as “Franz Liepkind” and Uma Thurman as “Ulla”.
Doesn’t this show want to make you start laughing even more?!!
2001 Tony Awards
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