HELLO THERE BROADWAY FANS! We are just 13 DAYS AWAY till Broadway's biggest night of the year, the 73rd 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 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. Here comes another Broadway toe-tapper!
At # 13 on our countdown, 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 show ever in Broadway history. This is of course the madcap musical comedy The Producers. The show features a score by Mel Brooks along with a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan. It's based on Brooks' 1968 film of the same name.
From the 2001 telecast, Tony winners Nathan Lane as "Max Bialystok", Matthew Broderick as "Leo Bloom", Cady Huffman as "Ulla", the late Gary Beach as "Roger De Bris", and Roger Bart as "Carmen Ghia", along with Tony nominee Brad Oscar as "Franz Liepkind", and members of the original cast gear up for the long awaited opening night of the show that is trying to be a great big Broadway flop SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER in the musical's Act 1 finale number ALONG CAME BIALY.
THE PRODUCRS was first conceived as a stage musical in 1999. Years following the success of the original 1968 film, Mel Brooks was recommended by David Geffen 1999 that he should write a full musical version of his own film. His original collaborator was originally going to be Tony winner Jerry Herman. However, he denied and encouraged Brooks' to do the score himself since he was an amazing songwriter (plus he wrote the film's signature tune SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER which is the film's iconic song and of course is a showstopper in the musical). He also got Thomas Meehan 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.
Following a triumphant world premiere tryout in Chicago, the officially opened on the Great White Way in 2001 at the St. James Theatre for an incredible run of 2,502 performances on Broadway. Under the direction of Susan Stroman, the cast starred…
Cady Huffman (later Sarah Cornell and Angie Schwoer) as "Ulla",
Brad Oscar (later Jim Borstellmann, John Treacy Egan, Peter Samuel, and Bill Nolte) 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, Dear Evan Hansen, and Hadestown 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.
THE PRODUCERS was nominated for a recording breaking 15 Tony Awards that very same year. It went on to win a recording breaking 12 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. With Stroman recreating her direction and staging on film, the cast starred…
Tony winners Nathan Lane reprising his Broadway performance as "Max Bialystotck",
Matthew Broderick reprising his Broadway performance as "Leo Bloom",
Uma Thurman as "Ulla",
Gary Beach reprising his Broadway performance as "Roger De Bris",
Roger Bart reprising his Broadway performance as "Carmen Ghia",
Will Ferrel as "Franz Liepkind",
Doesn't this show want to make you start laughing even more?!!