Mel Brooks saw no reason why The Producers — his hit show, which took home a record 12 American Theatre Wing Tony Awards June 3 — shouldn't travel to London. He was a soldier in England during World War II, after all, and recalled the country fondly. "I love the English!" said Brooks. "When I was there as a soldier, people would come up to me and give my sausages; they'd give me little cream pies; they'd come up and kiss me. The English are wonderful!"
Brooks confirmed that the Tony for best score, which he indeed won, had been particularly meaningful to him. "I've always loved the Cole Porters and the Irving Berlins more than anyone," referring to two composers who, like Brooks, wrote both music and lyrics. "If I could join that rare bunch of guys, it would mean so much to me."
About the groundbreaking 12 Tonys The Producers took home, Brooks was philosophical. "Prizes are the byproduct of a communal effort to make you dreams come true." He then went on to site the contributions of director-choreographer Susan Stroman, co-librettist Thomas Meehan and stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. "The thrill to do it and be allowed to do it is better than the prizes."
Brooks won three Tonys on June 3. He took home the medallions for Best Book of a Musical (co-written with Thomas Meehan) and Best Score; and as one of the show?s producers, he earned a third Tony when the show won Best Musical. As to the question that every Tony victor is asked — "How do you feel?" — Brooks responded, simply, "Pretty damn good."
—By Robert Simonson