Theater review: The Producers at Seattle Musical Theatre

Saturday, April 7, 2018


The Producers

Directed by Alan Wilke
Music Direction by Josh Zimmerman
Apr 06, 2018 - Apr 29, 2018

Review by Jim Anderson

Seattle Musical Theatre’s ‘The Producers’ re-weaves the story first created by Mel Brooks. A master of in-your-face comedy, Brooks created a story about how easily hard luck can turn to corruption in showbiz - and how the human soul can rebound.

Brooks’ idea remains here, but it’s almost swamped by comic sexual innuendo. It’s hard to imagine a wider array of allusions to sex. Perhaps most unexpected, the ‘plain guy gets the gorgeous girl’ by ‘refusing’ sex until after marriage. And gay pride is fully developed.

In between there’s lots of truly funny or even ribald sexual interplay. Despite a distracting first act F-bomb (“who do I have to F*** in this town to get a job!”), a hilarious wardrobe malfunction brought the audience back to a more comedic mood. [Note to director: either keep the wardrobe malfunction, or create something less in the audience’s face about sad desperation.]

The friendship between the two ‘producers’, characters Max Bialystock (Nathaniel Jones) and Leo Bloom (Brad Walker) are brought together with the beautiful, funny and honest ‘Ulla’ (Noel Peterson) to create a warm and hilarious atmosphere whenever any combination of the three interacted.

Roger (Shane Patrick Hoffman) carried himself in a stunning evening gown in a way that made many in the audience envious. And Mr. Hitler’s countenance will be forever altered after Hoffman’s comic and even flirtatious portrayal of the Fuhrer in the play-within-a-play, ‘Springtime for Hitler’.

The future of the Seattle Musical Theatre’s home at the Magnuson Park Community Center looks interesting. Recent discoveries of an old orchestra pit made during the theater’s renovation of the stage are being met with community donations (hint, hint) and larger grants.

One gentleman in the audience who was a WWII veteran remembered fondly the theater’s days of entertaining personnel stationed at the old military base there. One feature he noted has not changed: the seats are still better enjoyed with some kind of cushion, and ‘The Producers’ has you in those seats over two hours.

The theater is an uncluttered reminder of days gone by and a warm reminder for people who served at Sand Point NAS now so long ago.

‘The Producers’ runs through April 29th and tickets are available at www.SeattleMusicalTheatre.org. Director Alan Wilkie revealed that SMT’s next production, ‘Charlie Brown’, is being given an unusual twist. All characters will be presented by actors over age 55. “Charlie Brown’ starts May 25th.

4-9-18 corrected name of musical director

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