By Kenneth Jones
30 Jun 2002
Roger Bart and Gary Beach — one of the great couples of the current Broadway stage, playing the zany gay commonlaw couple in The Producers — are splitsville as of June 30.
Bart, who plays Carmen Ghia to Beach's Roger DeBris, is leaving the musical to head west to be part of a new ensemble sitcom for CBS, "Bram and Alice." Both Bart and Beach were Tony Award nominated for their daffy work in the Mel Brooks musical comedy; Beach won the Tony.
The producers of the stage smash have let Bart know that the door is open for his return. The actor, himself a Tony-winner for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, provided comic high points with his politically incorrect mincing and lisping in the role of live-in lover to famed — and richly effeminate — director Roger DeBris.
An outsider can only imagine the gales of laughter in the rehearsal studio when Bart, Beach, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick were developing their work toward its 2001 debut. At one point in the show, Carmen Ghia, dressed in hip-hugging black pants and a black turtleneck welcomes strangers Max and Leo into his gaudy apartment with the word, "Yes?" that has a lisp that lingers as if it may never stop.
Together, Ghia and DeBris tell producers Max and Leo that in order to have a hit show, they must "Keep It Gay."
Beginning July 2, Sam Harris will be wearing black this summer. Harris' Broadway credits include Grease! and The Life. He found early fame as a vocally-potent "Star Search" contestant who sang "Over the Rainbow."
He's expected to be with the Tony Award-winning Mel Brooks musical for four months, according to his official website.
The Producers continues at the St. James Theatre. One can imagine that if schedules align, Bart might find himself in the spring 2003 Los Angeles sitdown of The Producers. No casting for that company has been announced.