Who Is the King of Broadway When Producers Moves From L.A. to Road Again in 2004?

News   Who Is the King of Broadway When Producers Moves From L.A. to Road Again in 2004? Lewis J. Stadlen, who launched the national tour of The Producers in fall 2002 to be bumped out of the show when stars Jason Alexander and Martin Short were fitted into the Los Angeles leg of the run, returns to the company Jan. 6, 2004, in Denver.

It's not that Stadlen was put out to pasture as Max when the show landed at L.A.'s Pantages Theatre for an eight-month sidown starting in April 2003: He moved to the Broadway company to play corrupt, egotistical producer Max Bialystock, opposite his touring partner-in-crime, Don Stephenson, as Leo Bloom. They are currently at Broadway's St. James Theatre.

Stadlen will leave Broadway at the end of the year. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are said to be returning the Broadway roles they created come January 2004, but that has not officially been announced. The reason for the producers biding their time on the announcement? It's about business, of course: They don't want a rush of sales for the winter to drain potential sales for the rest of 2003.

A second national company of the smash hit musical by Mel Brooks launched June 17 in Boston starring Brad Oscar as Max. Bob Amaral is expected to replace Oscar on the road after he exits Nov. 30.

The Denver run of the first national company will play the Buell Theatre Jan. 6-31, 2004. Tickets go on sale Sept. 21 (visit www.denvercenter.org). The rest of the casting for Denver and beyond will be determined shortly. Stadlen is expected to continue with the tour through Houston, San Antonio, Nashville, Atlanta and beyond.

Prior to performing in the Broadway and first national touring productions of The Producers, Lewis J. Stadlen appeared on Broadway as Mickey Fox in Neil Simon's 45 Seconds From Broadway. He made his debut in 1967 in Fiddler on the Roof, starring Luther Adler. Stadlen earned early attention on Broadway portraying Groucho Marx in Minnie's Boys, Ben Silverman in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys and Voltaire, Dr. Pangloss and more in Leonard Bernstein's Candide. He also originated roles in Simon's other plays, The Female Odd Couple and Laughter on the 23rd Floor. He performed in the Broadway revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, starring Nathan Lane, played Nathan Detroit in the national touring company of Guys and Dolls and was recently seen as Banjo in Kaufman and Hart's The Man Who Came to Dinner for Roundabout Theatre Company. To view Playbill On-Line's fall 2002 Brief Encounter interview with Stadlen, who talked about playing Max on tour, click here.

For more information about The Producers, visit http://www.producersontour.com.

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