It looks as though Mel Brooks' wishful thinking is paying off. In recent months, Brooks has told the press he wanted Susan Stroman to direct the Broadway musical version of his film comedy, “The Producers.” Then, in a March 2 appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman," Brooks, a guest on the show, pulled a contract for the musical out of his pants and told Nathan Lane, who was Letterman’s guest host, to sign it. Brooks told the crowd he wanted Lane to star in the planned stage musical, presumably in the role originated by Zero Mostel.
Well, it looks like Brooks is getting Stroman and Lane. "We're actually going to do a reading of [Mel's] musical," Stroman told Playbill. "He's written the musical and lyrics and the book. Every single page is funny."
Stroman added that Lane would participate in the reading, which would take place in New York in May or June. Lane's publicist confirmed the actor's involvement. Lane will star in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, due to begin previews begin June 27.
On the "Letterman" show, 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."
Stroman's late husband, Mike Ockrent, was originally set to helm The Producers. Ockrent died in December of last year.