The worst kept secret in casting this year has now been confirmed by the producers of the national tour of The Producers: Lewis J. Stadlen and Don Stephenson will play Max and Leo, respectively, in the tour of the smash musical beginning Sept. 10 in Pittsburgh.
Although the principal casting has been known by many in the community for weeks, the policy of the producers is to not announce until contracts are signed. Rehearsals begin in late July. The casting was confirmed July 2.
Stadlen was most recently seen on Broadway in Neil Simon's 45 Seconds From Broadway. His other Broadway credits include The Man Who Came to Dinner, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (for which he was Tony-nommed) with Nathan Lane, Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Hal Prince's 1973-74 staging of Candide (another Tony nom). His film credits include "The Verdict," "Serpico," "In & Out" and "To Be Or Not To Be" with Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.
Stephenson's Broadway credits include Private Lives, By Jeeves, Parade and Titanic. Off Broadway, he was seen in Bus Stop, The Tavern and Chess.
Other casting confirmations include Fred Applegate (Franz Liebkind), Jeff Hyslop (Carmen Ghia), original 42nd Street alum Lee Roy Reams (Roger De Bris) and Broadway Producers veteran Angie Schworer (Ulla). Confirmed for the ensemble are Melanie Allen, Alan Bennett, Pam Bradley, Jennifer Paige Chambers, Jennifer Clippinger, Jennifer Lee Crowl, Meg Gillentine, Michael Goddard, Daniel Herron, Nancy Johnston, Kimberly Jones, Michael Kostroff, Jillana Laufer, Robin Lewis, Kevin Ligon, Melissa Rae Mahon, Greg Reuter, Jessica Sheridan, Jerald Vincent, Patrick Wetzel and Kent Zimmerman. Following a three-week stay at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, the tour moves on to Cleveland (Allen Theatre, Oct. 1-20), Cincinnati (Aronoff Theatre, Oct. 22–Nov. 10), Minneapolis (Orpheum Theatre, Nov. 12–Dec. 8), St. Louis (Fox Theatre, Dec. 10-29), San Diego (Civic Theatre, Jan. 1 12, 2003), Tempe (Gammage Auditorium, Jan. 14–Feb. 2, 2003), Seattle (The Paramount. Feb. 5–16, 2003), Portland (Civic Theatre, Feb. 18–March 2, 2003), San Francisco (Orpheum Theatre, March 4–April 27, 2003).
The Producers is drawn from Mel Brooks' comic film about a pair of producers who raise money for a sure-fire flop and plan to pocket the extra when their musical fails.The musical, Springtime for Hitler, becomes a smash, of course. Brooks penned the book with Thomas Meehan, and wrote music and lyrics for the show. Susan Stroman directs and choreographs.
The musical won an unprecedented 12 Tony Awards in 2001.