Writers Mel Brooks and Tom Meehan were also in attendance, and both played their part in welcoming the assembled company. Among the players milling around the South London rehearsal studios were Richard Dreyfuss and Lee Evans (London’s Max and Leo, respectively), Leigh Zimmerman (Ulla), Conleth Hill (Roger De Bris), Nicolas Colicos (Franz Liebkind) and James Dreyfus (Carmen Ghia, and, the pair revealed, Richard Dreyfuss’s cousin).
Talking through the production and displaying set drawings was director Susan Stroman. She revealed that the show has brought her a new legion of fans for an unexpected reason. Displaying the fake pigeons that perform ‘Heil Hitler’ gestures on the roof of Franz Liebkind’s apartment, she said, “I’ve had thousands of letters thanking me for not using real pigeons. As if I would!” So grateful are bird fans to Stroman for not training live Nazi birds, there have even been articles in magazines telling people to “be like Susan Stroman.”
The Producers begins previews at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane Oct. 22, with opening night on Nov. 9.