“The Producers” comes to Bean-Brown Theatre

Nick Privitera

Singing, dancing and laughter will commence Friday night at Theatre Tuscaloosa’s premiere of the musical “The Producers” at Bean-Brown Theatre at Shelton State Community College.

“The Producers” is a musical comedy adaptation of Mel Brooks’s 1968 film of the same name. The show tells the story of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, two Broadway producers who discover they can make more money if their production is a flop. The two men then set off to create the worst play ever and hilarity ensues.

“This is a classic, full-out musical theater comedy, in every respect of the word,” Charles Prosser, who plays Bialystock, said. “It holds the record for the most Tonys… The Producers kind of changed a lot of stuff in New York. It is a very important show.” 

The show is broken into two acts that feature musical numbers that have proven to coax laughs out of audiences for years. Songs such as “Springtime for Hitler” and other irreverent tunes are sure to have the audience reeling with laughter.

The Theatre Tuscaloosa production is directed by Steve Ray, a Tuscaloosa native who graduated from The University of Alabama and is chair of the theater department at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.

Ray worked with Theatre Tuscaloosa in the 1980s and 1990s and was excited to return to his hometown for this production.

“I knew it was going to be fun,” Ray said. “I get to come home and work with people, probably 10 of the cast members I have worked with in one way or another, so I get to work with people I love, and I love the standards here at Theatre Tuscaloosa.”

The show also features many UA students, alumni and employees. John Walker, who plays Bloom is a doctoral student at the university working towards his doctorate in higher education administration. Walker says he is excited about his opportunity to play a major role in the production.

“There is a lot of pressure, and it’s felt every night when you walk out and you see the lights and hear the orchestra backstage and you are realizing that you are about to go out and you are going to hear these people but you can’t see their faces,” Walker said. “You just have to take them somewhere and take them on a journey and somehow dig down inside and make them feel what you are feeling.”

The cast and all those involved with the show have worked for the past six weeks to get ready for opening night this Friday. According to Ray, they have worked hard, and will be ready come showtime.

“It’s a big, big, big musical,” Ray said. “Lots of actors, lots of production numbers and joke, joke, joke, joke, joke. Those have to be worked out meticulously, and they have to look easy or else they won’t be funny. It’s just a lot of locations, a lot of costumes, a lot of work. But in the end, it is going to look effortless and wonderful.”

Tickets are available for purchase now at theatretusc.com, over the phone at 205-391-2277 and one hour before curtain call. The show will be performed July 15-17 and July 20-24. Times are posted on Theatre Tuscaloosa’s website.