Even if you can afford and/or wait for a chance to see Broadway's mega hit, The Producers, there's one thing you can't see onstage eight times a week at the St. James Theatre: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and author Mel Brooks.
For that you have to come to the Lincoln Center branch of Tower Records (Broadway and W. 66th St.) on Monday, June 25, at 6 PM. The Producers trio will be onhand to sign copies of the show's original cast recording, recently released by Sony Classical.
On June 3, the show won a record 12 Tony Awards, including a Best Actor nod for Lane and Best Book (with Thomas Meehan) and Score trophies for Brooks, not to mention a Best Musical crown for the tuner itself.
In other Producers news, spokespersons for Broadway's The Producers confirmed that Roger Bart, who plays effeminate personal assistant Carmen Ghia, will move up to the role of Leo Bloom when Matthew Broderick takes a six-week hiatus to play Harold Hill in an ABC television version of The Music Man. The break was to have come in the fall but is now said to be delayed till next year. One of Bart's two understudies — Jamie Laverdiere or Brad Musgrove — would step in as Carmen. The Daily News reported June 7 that Broderick asked "Music Man" producer Craig Zadan and his production company, Storyline Entertainment, to postpone the shoot until early 2002, so Broderick could play a full, uninterrupted year on Broadway. Zadan told the News, "We'll rearrange our schedule and shoot another of our films in his place, then work him back in later."
A Barlow-Hartman spokesperson for the show told Playbill On-Line that the Bart-for-Broderick ruling still stands, albeit without a timeframe. "If and when Matthew leaves," he said, "Roger will do the role. But we don't know when that'll happen. The movie hasn't yet been scheduled."
As for the show itself, it could hardly be doing any better than it already is, but the box office did get a boost from the Tonys. According to a Barlow-Hartman spokesperson, the show took in $1.4 million in box office grosses for the 24 hours after the Tony ceremony. Though not as high as the $3 million the show made the day after it opened (and the reviews dubbed it the second only to the Second Coming), it is "a lot more than the daily average," the press rep noted. (The show has been regularly grossing just over $1 million per week.) The many awards and new spurt of sales prompted The Producers' producers to release six more months worth of tickets. As such, ducats are now onsale through December 2002. For tickets and information on The Producers at the St. James Theatre, call (212) 239-6200.
In further Producers news, the Mel Brooks-Thomas Meehan-Susan Stroman smash Broadway musical is hoping to open a London production in early 2003. "It's looks the first three months of 2003," said Steve Baruch, part of the Frankel/Baruch/Viertel/Routh Group, one of the producers behind the monster hit. Baruch spoke to PBOL at the May 16 Tony Nominees Luncheon at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.
"A lot of that has to do with [director-choreographer] Susan Stroman's schedule," he continued. "Contact is all over the place. And now the Harry Connick, Jr. Show," Thou Shalt Not, which will hit Broadway this fall, under Stroman's direction.
"The U.S. tour will precede London," Baruch added. Casting for both tour and London has not been addressed. No specific London theatre has been targeted, but Barach said, "SFX is a partner here and they have a great presence in London, including a producing-managing arm there."