Both actors are Tony Award winners: Short for playing multiple roles in a revival of Little Me and Alexander for multiple roles in Jerome Robbins' Broadway. Short and Alexander have also played TV characters that are widely known — Short is currently the chubby Jiminy Glick on Comedy Central's "Primetime Glick" and Alexander is seen in reruns of "Seinfeld."
The duo stepped into the first national tour of The Producers just prior to the current Los Angeles sitdown, appearing at San Francisco's Orpheum April 21-26, getting their feet wet with the existing company. The run at L.A.'s Pantages Theatre will last to Jan. 4, 2004, and the stars are committed for the entire engagement.
Gary Beach, who won a Tony Award playing crossdressing director Roger DeBris, flew out to L.A. to join the company. Beach returns to the Broadway company Sept. 30.
Short plays nebbishy Leo and Alexander is blustery Max in the Tony Award-winning musical inspired by the Mel Brooks movie about a desperate Broadway producer and his accountant who cook up a scheme to overfinance a sure-fire musical flop (which becomes a smash).
For the L.A. run, they replaced the existing tour's Lewis J. Stadlen (who is now the Max on Broadway) and Don Stephenson (who joins the Broadway company as Leo May 20). Ticket sales at the Pantages have been brisk. Alexander and Short are a casting dream team that Producers creator-composer-lyricist-co-librettist Mel Brooks has been seeking since the show first became a smash on Broadway in 2001.
The L.A. cast also includes Josh Prince as Carmen Ghia, Angie Schworer as Ulla and Fred Applegate as Franz.
The restored Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles is at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. For ticket information, call (213) 365 3500 or visit http://www.ticketmaster.com.
There is no talk of Short or Alexander coming to Broadway. As late as the week of April 15, Alexander said on NBC's "Today" he has a family in Los Angeles and it's not his wish to be away from them. Short has voiced the same concerns in the past.
Broadway performances continue at the St. James Theatre, a second national tour will launch in Boston June 17 starring Brad Oscar and Andy Taylor, and a Toronto company — the fourth in North America — starts in November.
The Producers swept the 2001 Tony Awards, receiving the most awards in Broadway history, including Best Musical , Best Book of a Musical (Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan), Best Original Score (Mel Brooks), Best Scenic Design (Robin Wagner), Best Costume Design (William Ivey Long), Best Lighting Design (Peter Kaczorowski), Best Orchestrations (Doug Besterman), Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical (Susan Stroman).