By Ben Rimalower
13 Aug 2013
|Photo by Paul Kolnik|
5. Roger Bart, The Producers
The Producers is another example of a show where many people were nominated and awarded for their work, including Roger Bart for his performance as Carmen Ghia, "common-law assistant" to Gary Beach's Roger De Bris. The De Bris character is showier and more important to the plot, and the Broadway community understandably rewarded beloved veteran Gary Beach for his generous, old time-y performance, which gave The Producers the legitimate musical comedy chops Mel Brooks had sought when he originally asked Jerry Herman to write the score. (Herman told Brooks to write it himself — and the rest is history.)
Nonetheless, it was Roger Bart who delighted me the most. From the interminable "s" in his "Yes?" upon opening the door for Bialystok and Bloom in his first scene through his trilling soprano at the end of "Keep It Gay," Bart imbued every flourish, every extra extension and lilt with sincerity and passion and heart. Watching The Producers, one couldn't help but care about this bizarre little gecko of a man, and it was strangely moving how he loved Roger De Bris. I was happy every time he entered the scene, sad when he left and watched for his reactions to everything that happened in between.