Broadway in Pittsburgh has finally announced what has been known unofficially in the theatre community: The national tour of The Producers will play the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts there, representing the launch of the road company of the smash Broadway hit.
Bookings for the national tours of Mel Brooks' The Producers continue to be slowly released in markets throughout the country, with Portland Opera/Broadway in Portland recently announcing Feb. 18-March 2, 2003, dates at Keller Auditorium in Portland, OR.
Not yet announced by producers are four names expected to star in the Mel Brooks show: Lewis J. Stadlen (...Forum in 1996) as Max, Jim Walton (Merrily we Roll Along, Crazy for You) as Leo, Lee Roy Reams (42nd Street in 1980) as Roger and Jeff Hyslop (Kiss of the Spider Woman) as Carmen Ghia.
The fall 2002 national tour will sitdown in Los Angeles for nine months beginning in April 2003 and it's likely that marquee names — Jason Alexander and Martin Short have been mentioned — will be "put in" (as they say in the business) to the L.A. run while Stadlen and Walton leapfrog into the leads of the second road company that begins in Boston in July 2003.
The second company's first booking is in Boston, June 17-July 13, 2003. These two U.S. tours are separate from the Toronto company that will begin in late spring or summer 2003 at the Canon Theatre (formerly the Pantages) in Ontario, likely for a run of several years.
It was previously thought the first tour launching in Pittsburgh in fall 2002 would be separate from the April-December 2003 L.A. sitdown but it will indeed be the company that moves to the Pantages in L.A.
"There was never a scenario under which we would have had road two companies out in the next year," a spokesperson clarified April 18. "The first company opens in September of 2002 — and has always been the same company that opens in Los Angeles in May of 2003. The second company was originally contemplated to open in Toronto. Subsequently, the producers, along with [Toronto presenters] the Mirvishes determined that Toronto could sustain a third 'sit-down' company, dates to be determined. The second company now opens in Boston in June 2003. The timing of each tour's opening is based primarily on Susan Stroman's availability to direct each production, and have been scheduled to work within her commitments to other shows."
Announced dates for The Producers include:
- Cincinnati's Aronoff Center Oct. 22-Nov. 10.
- Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre Nov. 12-Dec. 7.
- San Diego's Civic Theatre Dec. 31-Jan. 12, 2003.
- Tempe, AZ's Gammage Auditorium Jan. 14-Feb. 2, 2003.
- Seattle's Paramount Theatre Feb. 5-16, 2003.
- Portland's Keller Auditorium Feb. 18-March 2, 2003.
- San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre March 4-April 27, 2003.
- Los Angeles' Pantages Theatre April 29, 2003-Jan. 4, 2004.
- Boston's Colonial Theatre June 17-July 13, 2003.
- Appleton, WI's Fox Cities Performing Arts Center Sept. 16 28, 2003.
As bookers solidify their subscription seasons in markets around the country, with Producers as the jewel in the crown, those engagements are being announced individually. Producers tour tickets are available mostly as part of subscriptions at this point; single tickets generally go on sale 4 6 weeks before the engagement.
As of April 26, no casting has been officially announced for any of the Producers stagings beyond New York, but regional audiences can expect Susan Stroman's direction and choreography, the songs of Mel Brooks and a libretto shared by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, drawing on Brooks' zany 1968 film about comically corrupt Broadway producers.
The Broadway company at the St. James Theatre celebrated its one-year anniversary April 19. It currently stars Brad Oscar as Max (who replaced a fired Henry Goodman, the British actor who replaced Tony-winner Nathan Lane) and Steven Weber as Leo (who replaced Matthew Broderick).
The plot is a kind of love affair between a luckless producer, Max Bialystock, and Leo Bloom, a mousy accountant. They hatch a plan to raise more money than they need for a sure-fire Broadway flop and pocket the difference. Their "sure-fire" theatrical fiasco is none other than the musical, Springtime for Hitler, which turns out to be a hit. Brooks won an Academy Award for the screenplay of the film.
The show won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2001, and most every other award of the season. Its Tony tally totaled 12.
The Producers on Broadway is produced by Rocco Landesman; Clear Channel Entertainment; The Frankel • Baruch • Viertel • Routh Group; Bob and Harvey Weinstein; Rick Steiner; Robert F.X. Sillerman and Mel Brooks, in association with James D. Stern/Douglas Meyer and by special arrangement with StudioCanal. It opened on Broadway April 19, 2001.
For Broadway ticket information, call (212) 239-5800.