In a March 2 appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman," Mel Brooks threw kerosene on the embers of news reports that he was wooing Nathan Lane to star in a Broadway musical version of the film comedy, "The Producers."
Brooks, a guest on the show, pulled a contract for the musical out of his pants and told Lane, who was Letterman’s guest host, to sign it. Brooks told the cheering crowd he wanted Lane to star in the planned stage musical, presumably in the role originated by Zero Mostel.
Lane laughed and acted sheepish but his attitude seemed to suggest such casting was very much a possibility and he revealed that Brooks’ hope is that Martin Short would play the accountant role, originated by Gene Wilder. Brooks agreed that the hope was for Tony Award-winner Short to join Tony-winner Lane.
The 1968 film comedy, written and directed by Brooks, is about a producer and an accountant who cook up a scheme to oversell shares in a new musical they know will flop. The show, a Busby Berkeley-like fantasia about Hitler, is a surprise hit. The picture’s most famous scene includes tap-dancing, goose-stepping chorus boys and girls singing "Springtime for Hitler," in which "faster pace" is rhymed with "master race."
The uncharacteristic "Late Show" included guests Mario Cantone (doing Liza Minnelli and Carol Channing impersonations) and Kristin Chenoweth (singing a duet of Irving Berlin’s "You’re Just in Love" with Lane).