Brooks and Meehan's Producers Still Developing

News   Brooks and Meehan's Producers Still Developing As previously reported, it will likely not be until September before any further word is heard about The Producers, a stage adaptation of Mel Brooks' classic film comedy. According to a BrooksFilms spokesperson, Brooks is out of the country until the end of August, so details on when, where and who will be in the show will probably wait until his return.

As previously reported, it will likely not be until September before any further word is heard about The Producers, a stage adaptation of Mel Brooks' classic film comedy. According to a BrooksFilms spokesperson, Brooks is out of the country until the end of August, so details on when, where and who will be in the show will probably wait until his return.

What is known is that Brooks is adapting his screenplay with co-librettist Thomas Meehan, who wrote the book for the mega-hit Annie. Brooks is also penning the words and music to a couple of new tunes for the show, though the song titles are not yet available for publication. Susan Stroman will direct and choreograph.

Though no cast members are actually confirmed at this point, in a March 2 appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman," Brooks, a guest on the show, pulled a contract for the musical out of his pants and told Nathan Lane, who was Letterman’s guest host, to sign it. Brooks told the crowd he wanted Lane to star in the planned stage musical, presumably in the Max Bialystock role originated by Zero Mostel. Lane, currently starring in the Roundabout's The Man Who Came to Dinner, agreed.

As for the character of Leo Bloom, the nebbishy accountant rooked by Max into co-producing a flop Broadway musical for financial gain, early reports had Brooks interested in Martin Short for the role played on film by Gene Wilder. More recently, Matthew Broderick (How to Succeed in Business...) has been mentioned, with Lane telling the New York Observer (article dated July 24), "Matthew Broderick will hopefully play Leo Bloom."

There is no confirmation for dates or a theatre for The Producers (sources have been pointing to the St. James, current home of Swing!). However, Brooks' spokesperson did say the earliest Broadway might see the musical would be January 2001. "We're actually going to do a reading of [Mel's] musical," director Stroman told Playbill (March 28). "He's written the musical and lyrics and the book. Every single page is funny." Evan Pappas was then slated to play Leo Bloom, in an upcoming workshop of the new musical, a spokesman for the reading told Playbill On-Line. Pappas was most recently seen in the Broadway musical, Parade.