The Department of Theatre and Dance has brought the acclaimed musical “The Producers” to Montclair State’s Kasser Theatre. The musical follows the story of Max Bialystock, who was once the King of Broadway but whose shows now close on their opening night. When he meets timid accountant Leo Bloom, who has a dream of becoming a Broadway producer, they come up with the scheme that they can make more money with a flop than with a hit. In doing so, they try to find the worst screenplay and hire the worst actors and director to ensure that the show will be a flop for their own benefit. The musical they produce is called “Springtime for Hitler,” and throughout “The Producers,” we see how Bialystock and Bloom form a closer friendship and how hilarious the additional characters’ scenarios become.
I had the pleasure of seeing “The Producers” on opening night, and as someone who is a fan of Broadway and the original musical, I was intrigued to see how this play was going to come to life onstage. This rendition turned out to be nothing short of fantastic, and it was much better than I expected it to be. Everyone in the cast did a magnificent job, and I honestly thought that the casting choices were perfect. Not only did the actors provide so many laughs, but the cast gave great vocal and dance performances. The set was so good that it felt on par with Broadway.
Bialystock, who was played by Thomas Beebe on Friday, did an absolutely terrific job. He managed to make a selfish and greedy character likeable, and there are plenty of scenes where he portrayed the character as someone who has a short temper. He was hilarious. Bloom, who was played by Nick Zale, nailed the part of someone who is prone to panic attacks and very timid. At times, I forgot I was watching an actor portray this character.
Franz Liebkind, who was played by Adam Magnacca, also did a really great job in his role. There was a scene in which he sings and dances with pigeons in the background, and it is undoubtedly one of my favorite moments in the play. Ulla, who was played by Annie-Elizabeth Caltrider on Friday, also did really well in her role as a Swedish secretary — she did an excellent job at singing and dancing.
The funniest characters in the play were Carman Ghia and Roger DeBris, who were played by Jared Cowley and Ryan Kiernan, respectively. I cannot praise them enough for their incredible performances. They made the audience laugh numerous times and their humor was top notch.
Not only did the cast do a fantastic job, but the orchestra was excellent. The music complemented the acts and “Springtime for Hitler” is a song that will be on your mind for a few days after watching the musical.
I highly recommend that everyone at Montclair State see this play while it is here — even those who are not fans of Broadway or musicals. The hard work from the cast and orchestra has truly paid off and makes “The Producers” really worth your time.