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Ich War So Gern Ein Producer

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hotjohn
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Ich War So Gern Ein Producer#1
Posted: 6/9/09 at 4:37pm
I got to see "The Producers - Fruhling Fur Hitler" in Berlin at the weekend and I'm happy to report that it was as good as the best productions of the show I've seen.

First of all, they really went to town decorating the exterior of the theatre, complete with red, white and black banners. Not surprisingly swastikas cannot be displayed in public, only on stage, so they replaced them on the publicity materials with pretzels!

The show used the full set as seen on Broadway and in the West End including the fountains at the end of "We Can Do It (Reprise)" and the all-white office in act two - neither of which featured in the UK tour or Las Vegas.

The casting was absolutely spot-on. Every one of the 22-strong cast worked as hard as possible to bring their characters to life - some members of the ensemble get through so many different costumes they must certainly keep fit running around backstage. We had the alternate Max Bialystock, Martin Berger, but, from his performance you'd never believe he wasn't the principal. Possibly because he doesn't go on too often, when he does perform he gives it his all - he literally threw himself into the role. He looked a lot like Harry Enfield but I won't hold that against him - he was excellent. His rendition of "Betrayed", which is always a good yardstick, was amazing.

Andreas Bieber, as Leo Bloom, was (dare I say it?) quite possibly the best Bloom I've seen (and I've now seen seven different ones). He was the perfect mixture of character traits of others I've seen in the role - including Matthew Broderick's nerdiness, Lee Evans' physicality, John Gordon Sinclair's charm and Joe Pasquale's nerves. It was a privilege to witness his impeccable performance.

Franz Liebkind, Roger de Bris and Carmen Ghia were all fabulously played. Carmen Ghia was so over-the-top hilarious I almost wet myself watching him.

The audience reaction was really strange - who can understand the German sense of humour, after all? It turns out they do have a collective funny bone, it just took a bit of finding. There was almost no response to anything for the first four scenes. I felt as if I was the only person laughing at the gags, and I don't even understand German! It was only with the rooftop scene featuring Franz Liebkind and his pigeons that they woke up. They loved all the nazi references, Max's line about the swastika armband being reversible even got a round of applause - that never happened before. I was trying to work out just why they responded so well at that point and wondered, after all the hype, were they simply waiting to be outraged? I don't think that was the case - rather, they were waiting for the first sign of surreal, cartoon-like action which seems to be the German style of comedy (don't forget, Benny Hill was huge in Germany!). From thereon in they lapped everything up - especially the campness of Roger and Carmen, the Little Old Ladyland scene and (it goes without saying) "Springtime For Hitler" (especially the showgirl costumes). I realised that, of all the productions I've seen, this one was far and away the most physical - every gag seemed to be emphasised with a bit of visual schtick, e.g. when Max sings "They shouted hooray for that sausage on display" it was accompanied by Max placing the Champagne bottle he was holding sideways on his hat. The physical stuff was always appropriate and certainly increased the fun for me beyond the spoken gags.

Although I have only a rudimentary knowledge of the German language even I appreciated how good the translation was. All the gags seemed to be intact and everything rhymed. At least one gag, "Nie, Nie, Nietsche", worked far better in German than it does in English.

Of course, anyone who knows me will wonder what I wore to the theatre. I couldn't resist dressing up as Max in tuxedo, black bow tie, carnation and hat. I was delighted to see that they were selling armbands with the pretzel design on them so that was added to my costume. Some members of the audience seemed a bit confused by my outfit - they probably thought I was going to jump up and join in (it's just as well I don't speak German!).

Ich War So Gern Ein Producer
Updated On: 6/9/09 at 04:37 PM
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Scripps2
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re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer#2
Posted: 6/9/09 at 5:34pm
You're obviously a big Producers fan and that is really interesting. I was wondering how this would go down as it's a bit like doing 1776 in the West End: it's probably politic not to rub peoples' noses in their own sh*t.

Seeing the armband on your photo really illustrates your point as well.

Did they keep "Haben Sie Gehort das Deutsche Band" as it was? Did the audience find the "mit a bang" bits with the weapons funny?

Updated On: 6/9/09 at 05:34 PM
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hotjohn
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re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer#2
Posted: 6/9/09 at 5:43pm
"Haben Sie De Gehort Die Deutsche Band?" was, as far as I could tell, exactly as performed on Broadway/in the West End (the lyrics about " Huns and our honeys" were probably lost in translation, though).

However, "Der Guten Tag Hop-Clopf" became "Der Rechts Herum Hupf Auf" (could anyone who speaks German please enlighten us?).
Updated On: 6/9/09 at 05:43 PM
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Mister Matt
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re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer#3
Posted: 6/9/09 at 6:30pm
"Der Rechts Herum Hupf Auf"

It involves something of a colloquialism similar to "Hop Clop". Roughly, it is something like "The Right Around Hop Up".

How was the theatre? I've been to Theater Des Westens and the Musikal Theater, but not where The Producers is playing.

I love Berlin so much. I can't wait to get back there. Incidentally, I was in Porto, Portugal just before The Producers was opening. Posters and flyers were EVERYWHERE.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer#4
Posted: 6/10/09 at 8:07am
The Admiralspalast Theatre is gorgeous. The outside looks like a film set or doll's house.

re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer

re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer

The auditorium is quite grand also. The Fuhrer's box is no longer in place but the seats in that area of the circle are at premium prices. There's an article in the programme about Hitler's relationship with the theatre.

re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer
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re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer#5
Posted: 6/10/09 at 2:41pm
This production and cast opened in Vienna last year and closed several months early this past February. I hope it does better in Berlin (and I'm thinking that is the hope of the VBW!).

I am so glad you enjoyed the show!
How to properly use its/it's: Its is the possessive. It's is the contraction for it is...
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re: Ich War So Gern Ein Producer#6
Posted: 6/10/09 at 2:53pm
Very apt this thread has come up while The Tonys have been on, great show, very funny, but was it really worth 12 Tonys?