Brooks' Brothers Lane and Broderick Exit Producers March 17

News   Brooks' Brothers Lane and Broderick Exit Producers March 17 Unhappy. Unhappy. Veeeeery unhappy.

Unhappy. Unhappy. Veeeeery unhappy.

Audiences will say a sad goodbye to the funniest couple on Broadway — Tony Award-winner Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick — March 17, when the pair play their final performance in The Producers, at the St. James Theatre.

Lane will take needed vocal rest and explore future projects, including a possible TV series, and Broderick will begin filming the Disney TV movie-musical, "The Music Man," playing Harold Hill to Kristin Chenoweth's Marian the Librarian.

Waiting in the wings to jump into the Mel Brooks musical comedy, as the new Bialystock and Bloom, are England's Henry Goodman (seen in Art) and TV's Steven Weber ("Wings," "Once and Again"). They play the corrupt impresario Bialystock and the novice producer, Bloom, respectively, beginning March 19. They will have about six weeks to settle into their roles before critics are invited back May 1-2. Expect new reviews of the record-breaking show (it won an unprecedented 12 Tony Awards in 2001) to be published on or after May 3.

Songwriter and co-librettist Brooks (on whose film the stage musical is based) and director-choreographer Susan Stroman will be on hand after the Sunday March 17 matinee to present Lane and Broderick with flowers. Don't expect a cake to be wheeled out, but there will likely be speeches and tears. A private party will follow, according to a spokesman. The show was Lane's greatest stage triumph to date, winning him cheers and a Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical). During the run, the vocally-taxing role seriously threatened the health of his voice and he missed a number of performances to preserve it.

New York is eager to see what Goodman and Weber come up with in roles so associated with Lane and Broderick. Observers say the show is ultimately the star, and note that Lane and Broderick were able to step out of the shadow of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, the actors who created the film roles.

Brooks has expressed a hope that Lane and Broderick might perhaps reprise their roles in the future.