He Can Do It! Bart Blooms as Leo in Bway Producers Dec. 17; Musgrove Is Ghia

News   He Can Do It! Bart Blooms as Leo in Bway Producers Dec. 17; Musgrove Is Ghia
Roger Bart, the Tony Award-winning character actor, becomes a comic leading man Dec. 17 when he ascends to the role of Leo Bloom, in Broadway's The Producers.
Brad Oscar and Roger Bart in The Producers.
Brad Oscar and Roger Bart in The Producers.

Bart won the Tony for Best Featured Actor (Musical) for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown — playing a beagle, Snoopy — and was nominated in the same category in 2001, for originating the role of Carmen Ghia, the outrageously swishy manservant in Mel Brooks' The Producers. When the show became a smash starring Matthew Broderick (as mousy accountant Leo, who dreams of Broadway) and Nathan Lane (as a broken impresario), observers of the musical early on speculated that Bart would make a good choice for Leo Bloom once Broderick left.

When the now-celebrated Broderick and Lane exited the show in spring 2002, they were replaced by Steven Weber as Leo and Brad Oscar (the original Franz Liebkind, also a Tony nominee) as Max. Bart stayed on into the summer of 2002, and left to appear in an ensemble sitcom, "Bram & Alice," which was canceled after several episodes.

On Dec. 15, Weber and Sam Harris (as Carmen) left The Producers when their contracts ended. On the same day Bart steps into Broderick and Weber's shoes at the St. James Theatre, Brad Musgrove begins playing Carmen Ghia.

In the sort of casting troupers dream about, the two leads of one of the hottest musicals in Broadway history are now being played by actors who graduated from supporting player positions within the show's ranks.

* The casting of Bart in the role created by Broderick in 2001 was confirmed Nov. 8.

The role of swishy, mincing, lisping Carmen — an outrageous, on-purpose stereotype — will now be played by Musgrove, a dance captain and swing with the show. He appeared in the original cast of Fosse. Bart was Tony-nommed for his performance as Ghia. He lost to his stagemate, Gary Beach, who plays director Roger DeBris. Beach and original cast member Cady Huffman, another Tony winner, are still with the show, which won a record 12 Tony Awards.

As Leo, Bart's singing duties and stage time increase measurably. Among the character's many songs are "I Want to Be a Producer," "We Can Do It," "Where Did We Go Right?," "'Til Him" and "That Face," among others.

Musgrove's credits include productions of Cats, 42nd Street, Chess, A Chorus Line and the film, "Everyone Says I Love You."

Bart won the 1999 Tony and Drama Desk awards for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Other Broadway and national tour credits include Triumph of Love, King David, How to Succeed..., The Secret Garden, Big River and the first national, German and London stagings of The Who's Tommy, in which he played Cousin Kevin.

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