In the 1967 Mel Brooks movie (which inspired the smash 2001 Mel Brooks Broadway musical), theatregoers at a Broadway opening of Springtime for Hitler are seen in a reaction shot, with appalled looks on their frozen faces. For the new Susan Stroman-directed movie, the sequence will be recreated, with the "Broadway audience" made up of hundreds of people willing to make a donation to the 25-year-old organization FoodChange, which gives over two million New Yorkers "access to better food and more adequate incomes."
FoodChange is the new name (dawning just this month) for the Community Food Resource Center.
This unique charity event is not putting Screen Actors Guild extras out of work. "We're working very closely with SAG and we're following all of their requirements," a spokesperson for FoodChange told Playbill.com.
Those paying for the opportunity cannot be members of the union, and the theatre audience will include the SAG minimum of union extras.
Feb. 25 is the deadline for signing up for the event. "Through a special arrangement with the real-life producers of this New York-based film, FoodChange is able to offer you the unique and glamorous opportunity to be part of cinema history by participating as a member of the opening night audience of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom's disastrously successful musical, Springtime for Hitler," according to FoodChange. "While you won't actually be watching a Broadway show, you'll be decked out to the nines in 1950s era black tie, and seeing first hand how movies are made as the action happens all around you."
This special event, essentially a day of work for hundreds of "extras" in the picture, is scheduled to take place March 14 at the St. James Theatre (where The Producers is continuing its smash run; the crowd will not be viewing parts of the show). Various reaction shots (applause, laughter, horror) are expected to be captured during the day, with audience members dressed up in period finery (supplied by participants or by the movie's wardrobe people, or both).
There are several giving levels and options, including buying a seat for yourself, buying a seat for someone else, or "adopting" a row of seats "for a service project or glamorous team- building opportunity." Giving option range $500 (for an individual) to $10,000 for a row. There's also a $250 nonprofit rate for individuals working for a nonprofit, social services or governmental office.
For Playbill.com club members, there is a 10 percent discount for the $500 level. Type the word "playbill" in the designation section of the online form in order to receive a discount.
For more information, visit www.producersmovieevent.org.
For more information about FoodChange, visit www.cfrcnyc.org.
Richard Murphy is the executive director of FoodChange. According to the not-for-profit, "FoodChange (formerly known as Community Food Resource Center) began 25 years ago by feeding hungry children and adults. After getting food on the table, we then identified the necessary income to pay for that food. We are now looking at the quality of the food available to the two million New Yorkers struggling to find and eat nutritious food."
Some of the group's accomplishments over the past 25 years include:
Returning millions of dollars to New Yorkers through the Earned Income Tax Credit and Food Card programs.