Nathan Lane, who missed a couple of performances of The Producers at the end of May owing to the need for vocal rest, has missed several more since the end of June. Lane has been out since June 29 with a tracheal infection. He was initially expected back in the show July 3 but also missed that performance. There were no shows on July 4, and the actor is, according to Barlow-Hartman spokespersons, due back tonight, July 5.
Brad Oscar, who usually plays Franz, stepped in as Max Bialystock for the five performances Lane missed. Jim Borstelmann has been the interim Nazi.
Audiences members at performances missed by Lane were able to get refunds (if they arrived before the curtain went up). Exchanges were also offered, although orchestra seats for the mega-hot show aren't available until spring 2002.
In other 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 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." There's also been talk of a West Coast mounting, with Martin Short telling the New York Times (July 2) he's seriously interested in playing Leo Bloom should the musical come to L.A. (Short was also the first candidate for the Broadway Leo, but the actor, now starring in the well-received cable TV talk show spoof, "Jiminy Glick," didn't want to leave his wife and three kids for the wilds of New York City.)
The Producers, which has proved the biggest sensation to reach Broadway since The Lion King, collected a record 15 Tony nominations on May 7 and won a record 12 Awards June 3. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick star as shyster producers, Bialystock and Bloom, alongside Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Cady Huffman and Brad Oscar.
The Producers boasts designer Robin Wagner on sets, William Ivey Long on costumes, Peter Kaczorowski on lighting and Steve Kennedy on sound. Glen Kelly serves as musical arranger and supervisor; Patrick Brady is musical director and vocal arranger. Doug Besterman provided the orchestrations.
The musical is being produced by Rocco Landesman, SFX Theatrical Group, the Frankel, Viertel, Baruch, Routh Group, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Rick Steiner, Robert F X Sillerman and Mel Brooks, in association with James D. Stern/Douglas Meyer and by special arrangement with Studio Canal.
For tickets and information on The Producers at the St. James Theatre, 246 West 44th Sreet, call (212) 239-6200.