By Kenneth Jones
09 Feb 2008
|Photo by Paul Kolnik|
Danza (TV's "Taxi," "Who's the Boss?") joined the Nevada production in mid-run, playing the show's egomaniacal theatrical producer Max Bialystock, as he did in the tail end of the Broadway staging.
The trimmed, 90-minute Vegas sitdown of The Producers had its gala premiere at Paris Las Vegas on Feb. 9, 2007, after previews from Jan. 31, 2007. David Hasselhoff played flamboyant Roger De Bris in the first months of the run, to be replaced by Lee Roy Reams.
The original production opened on Broadway on April 19, 2001, to unanimous rave reviews and was the recipient of the most Tony Awards in Broadway history (12, including Best Musical).
The Producers has a Tony Award-winning book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, Tony Award-winning music and lyrics by Mel Brooks and Tony Award-winning direction and choreography by Susan Stroman. The musical also has scenic design by Robin Wagner, costume design by William Ivey Long and lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski (all Tony winners for their work).
Tickets can be purchased online at www.parislasvegas.com or by calling the Paris Las Vegas box office at (877) 374-7469.
Audiences at the Paris Las Vegas resort experienced a lean 90-minute version of the Mel Brooks-Thomas Meehan show.
It's not the first time Las Vegas has seen showgirls descending a staircase, but it may be the first time they've been wearing skimpy costumes representing beer steins, knackwurst and the Third Reich.
The 2007 Vegas company boasted Tony Award nominee Brad Oscar as obnoxious Max, Larry Raben as nebbishy Leo, Leigh Zimmerman as comely Ulla, Rich Affannato as Carmen Ghia and Fred Applegate as Franz Liebkind with Melanie Allen, Jim Ambler, Nancy Beard, Steven Ted Beckler, Gail Bennett, Patrick Boyd, Jen Lee Crowl, Erica Hamilton, Daniel Herron, Chris Holly, Shari Jordan, Katrina Loncaric, Kimmie Louwsma, Sinclair Mitchell, Nick Santa Maria, Jessica Sheridan, Alet Taylor, Matthew Vargo, Erick Walck and Kent Zimmerman.
In addition to internal libretto trims, songs or pieces of songs in the Tony-winning score have been cut.
Why a 90-minute Producers when the two-and-a-half-hour show was a Broadway smash? The general wisdom in producing circles is that antsy, distracted, gaming-minded crowds in Las Vegas don't want to invest too much time or thought in the apparently passive act of theatregoing, so the writing — the craft — gets slashed to accommodate the masses.
Avenue Q, Hairspray and The Phantom of the Opera have been edited for time there, but the long-running Mamma Mia! is seen in its full two-act version in Vegas, where spandex, glitter and ABBA are apparently catnip to tourists.
A spokesman for the Vegas Producers confirmed the following numbers from the original Broadway score have been removed for the Las Vegas production:
Paris Las Vegas, known for its 50-story replica of the Eiffel Tower, is a Harrah's Entertainment resort.