A Decade After The Producers, Matthew Broderick's Back in a Broadway Musical

By Brandon Voss
14 Apr 2012

Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick
Photo by Joan Marcus

Matthew Broderick punches the clock opposite Kelli O'Hara in the new Gershwin musical Nice Work If You Can Get It, his first Broadway musical since The Producers.

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Matthew Broderick has some sage words for The Book of Mormon stars Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells. "I wish those guys luck," he says. "They're young, they're really freakin' good, but they'll have to live down that success forever."

Broderick speaks from experience, of course, as the man who starred with Nathan Lane in a little show called The Producers, which swept the 2001 Tony Awards and ran on Broadway for more than six years. "Hits like that are very rare," Broderick says. "Some people may be a little initially disappointed when whatever I do isn't The Producers, but that's kind of a wonderful burden to have."

The 1920s-set screwball romantic comedy Nice Work If You Can Get It, which opens April 24 at Broadway's Imperial Theatre, is Broderick's first stage musical since the Producers phenomenon. He insists, however, that the fear of failing to meet unrealistic expectations has nothing to do with his lengthy musical theatre hiatus.



"You would think that musical offers poured in after The Producers, but that didn't happen," explains the two-time Tony winner, who focused instead on straight plays like The Odd Couple and The Philanthropist. "Besides, I'd never measure anything by the Producers ruler. I love doing musicals, so I was extremely happy when I heard from Kathleen Marshall that she wanted me for Nice Work."

Marshall, Nice Work's director-choreographer, had worked nicely with Broderick before when she choreographed the 2003 television version of The Music Man, in which Broderick starred as Harold Hill. "I've always admired her," he says of the three-time Tony winner, who also helmed Broadway's current revival of Anything Goes. "She's so smart, witty, and inventive, and she takes the work very seriously."

Because it's been so long since his last musical outing, Broderick admits that Marshall's demanding choreography in Nice Work has proven a bit challenging. "I don't know if it's because the dance numbers are more active or because I'm just older, but it's probably the latter," says the 50-year-old actor, who underwent minor back surgery last year. "There are definitely more aches and pains this time around. I've been taking a lot of warm baths."

Marshall's choreography complements a sparkling score culled from the repertoire of George and Ira Gershwin. "'S Wonderful" and "Fascinating Rhythm" are among Broderick's favorite numbers in the show, as are lesser-known Gershwin gems like "Will You Remember Me?" "The audience will hear their favorite Gershwin standards, but there are some songs that people won't know at all — or at least I didn't," he says.

Read more about the musicals of composer George Gershwin in the Playbill Vault.

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