Bookings for the national tours of Mel Brooks' The Producers continue to be slowly released in markets throughout the country, with San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre and the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, WI, the latest to go public with engagements of the show.
The Producers will arrive in spring 2003 in San Francisco, it was announced by Carole Shorenstein Hays and Scott Nederlander, who operate three venues in the City by the Bay. An unofficial national tour itinerary circulating on the internet and in the theatre community indicates the San Fran dates will be roughly March 4-April 27, 2003.
Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, AZ, also announced (April 2) it would host The Producers Jan. 14-Feb. 2, 2003.
At the still-under-construction Fox Cities venue in central Wisconsin, The Producers is part of a season package and has been announced for Sept. 16-28, 2003. Because these dates coincide with a Producers run in Los Angeles, it's clear there will indeed be two national companies crisscrossing the country. A spokesperson told Playbill On-Line April 18 that the second tour will launch in Boston in June 2003.
According to the circulating itinerary and previously published reports, the plan for the first tour is to launch in Pittsburgh in September 2002 and then sit down in L.A. for eight months beginning in May 2003. The second company's booking in Boston is June 17-July 13, 2003. These two U.S. tours are different than the separate Toronto company that will begin in late spring 2003 at the Canon Theatre (formerly the Pantages) in Ontario, likely for a long run.
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."
It is thought the two tours will be called the "Max" and "Leo" companies, after the title characters.
Other announced dates for The Producers are:
- 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.
- Boston's Colonial Theatre June 17-July 13, 2003.
The worst-kept casting secret in the community is that Lewis J. Stadlen, Jim Walton and Lee Roy Reams will play Max, Leo and Roger DeBris, respectively, in the tour that launches in Pittsburgh in September 2002. There has been no official casting announcement, however.
The first touring staging of the show beyond its current Tony Award winning Broadway run is expected to launch in September 2002 in Pittsburgh, although that engagement has not been officially announced. Dates at the Pittsburgh Benedum Center are expected to be roughly Sept. 10-29. 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.
No casting has been 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.
It has been speculated that the Los Angeles staging might include marquee names (Liz Smith reported Jason Alexander and Martin Short), and Brooks has said he hopes that the original stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, might one day return to the show.
The Broadway company at the St. James Theatre celebrates a 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.
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.
Book writer Meehan told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the mega-hit would start its tour in Pittsburgh, PA in September. A casting notice noted that rehearsals for the Producers tour will start July 22, readying for a first performance in Pittsburgh Sept. 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.