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BWW Review: THE PRODUCERS at Paper Mill Playhouse is Fabulous Entertainment

"The reviews come out a lot faster when the critics leave at intermission."

by Max Bialystock in The Producers

Paper Mill Playhouse opens their 2016-2017 season with a fabulous production of the musical comedy hit, The Producers. Directed by Don Stephenson, choreographed by Bill Burns with musical direction by James Moore, this production shines bright on the Millburn stage. Whether you are seeing the show for the very first time or it is one of your favorites, gather your group and get your tickets now for this wonderfully staged theatrical treat.

The Producers features music and lyrics by Mel Brooks and a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production in 2001 was directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. The musical was an instant hit on the Great White Way and earned a record breaking 12 Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards.

In The Producers, theatrical producer, Max Bialystock and his partner Leo Bloom plan to get rich by overselling shares in a new musical, "Springtime for Hitler." The campy, offensive show by neo-Nazi, Franz Liebkind is guaranteed to be a Broadway flop. But there are opening night surprises. Roger De Bris, the show's flamboyant director, has to assume the lead role of Hitler. And the critics rave about the production calling it a "satirical masterpiece." When Bialystock and Bloom's get rich quick scheme fails, the producers find themselves in legal trouble that changes their lives and careers.

The cast for The Producers is perfectly suited to their roles as they bring this hilarious show to life. They master the show's memorable music and have impeccable comedic timing. Leading the company is Michael Kostroff as the conniving producer, Max Bialystock; David Josefsberg as Bialystock's accountant and unlikely partner, Leo Bloom; John Treacy Egan as the quirky, Nazi sympathizer, Franz Liebkind. Ashley Spencer as an aspiring actress, Ulla who also works as Bialystock and Bloom's office assistant; Kevin Pariseau as the director of "Springtime for Hitler," Roger De Bris and Mark Price as De Bris' companion and assistant, Carmen Ghia.

Rounding out the company is an extraordinary ensemble that includes Jacob ben Widmar, Michael Biren, Courtney Brady, Tim Capodice, Jesse Carrey-Beaver, Scott Cote, Madeleine Doherty, Hannah Flam, Brad Frenette, John Jeffords, Jeffrey Johnson II, Naomi Kakuk, Jenny Laroche, Liz McKendry, Kelly Peterson, Emily JeAnne Phillips, Jessica Sheridan, and Kate Wesler.

Exciting, dazzling musical numbers include "Opening Night" by The Usherettes and Ensemble; "We Can Do It" by Max and Leo; "When You Got It, Flaunt It" by Ulla; "Along Came Bialy" by Max and Little Old Ladies; "You Never Say 'Good Luck' on Opening Night" by Roger, Max, Carmen, Franz and Leo; "Springtime for Hitler" by Lead Tenor, Roger Ulla and Ensemble; "Betrayed" by Max. And there's a wonderful finale, "Goodbye" performed by the Entire company.

We applaud the Design Team for bringing the glitz and glamour of Broadway to the Paper Mill Playhouse stage with the original scenic design by Robin Wagner; scenic coordination by David Peterson; the original costume design by William Ivey Long; costume coordination by Martha Bromelmeier; lighting design by John Lasiter; sound design by Randy Hansen; hair and wig design by Paul Huntley; makeup design by Angelina Avallone. Casting is by Telsey + Company. The Production Stage Manager is Gary Mickelson.

The Producers is a zany take on the creation and production of musical theater that will have you laughing out loud. See it while it is being performed at Paper Mill Playhouse. Bravo to Producing Director, Mark S. Hoebee and Managing Director, Todd Schmidt for making this treasured show available to metro area audiences.

The Producers will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse through October 23rd eight times a week, Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets are on sale now starting at $32. They may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Avenue in Millburn or online at Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discoumt on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. Students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

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From This Author Marina Kennedy