REVIEW: THE PRODUCERS
at Performance Now Theatre Company
by Tayler Jo Oxley
My Sunday afternoon was spent with pigeons, accountants, Nazis, showgirls, homosexuals, and horny little old ladies. To clarify, I was at Lakewood Cultural Center attending Performance Now Theatre Company’s production of The Producers.
The show started off with an overture that was a bit flat and then continued with an opening number that was a bit slow. However upon meeting one of our main characters Max Bialystock, played by the incredibly talented Scott Rathbun, the pace of the show picks up. Rathbun’s rendition of The King of Broadway shows that his acting skills and voice are equally powerful. The choreography in the this number sets the tone for the rest of the show. Jessica Hindsley nicely creates movement that is simple enough for a group of mixed abilities, yet keeps the audience entertained. Hindsley’s use of Kelly Mann’s props in I Want To Be A Producer and Along Came Bialy were captivating. Desks and walkers are not typical dance partners, but they stole the attention in these two numbers.
There is not enough to be said about Seth Maisel’s performance of Franz Liebkind. His rendition of Have You Ever Heard The German Band? really is a treat. He gives the audience quiet lunacy that the character demands while his physical energy and excitement make Franz, dare I say, a lovable Nazi. And while we’re on that topic, our Nazi Tenor, Taylor Hamill, was absolutely delightful. Hamill delivers such a divine solo in Springtime for Hitler, that you actually think he is an angel.
I expected more from Keep It Gay; it was lacking in glitz and glamour. I was expecting a large dance number, but was fairly disappointed when all I got was a sad little conga line. During this number I was quite distracted by Will Treat’s portrayal of Shirley. His choices made the character seem like she had some sort of disability which took away from Kris Graves performance of Roger De Bris. Graves serves the audience with a colorful, lovable queen while his counterpart Carmen Ghia played by Adam Luhrs, left something to be desired.
Jeffrey Parker made Leo Bloom a soft, anxiety ridden accountant who finds himself full of energy at the prospect of being a producer. While these aspects are necessary to the character that Mel Brooks created, we lost some dialogue in his quiet voice. The same issue was had with Ulla, played by Nicole Campbell. Her Swiss accent was a bit much at times, and several punchlines were lost in dialect. Campbell and the rest of the female ensemble looked beautiful in everything they wore. Kudos to Cindy Franke on a well executed design on all accounts. The costumes fit everyone nicely while complimenting the scenery. Set Designers Robert Michael Sanders and Ken Goodwin along with Set Painter Joel Adam Chavez receive recognition for the well thought out and versatile set pieces.
All in all, it was a Sunday afternoon well spent. The fun songs, shiny costumes, and quotable script will keep this production on my mind long after this fun productions ends!
So make it Springtime for Hitler and experience Performance Now Theatre Company’s THE PRODUCERS in Lakewood playing March 23rd through April 8th. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, there will be a performance at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 5 and no performance on Sunday, April 1. For tickets or more information, contact the Lakewood Cultural Center Box Office by calling 303-987-7845 or online at www.Lakewood.org/LCCPresents. The Lakewood Cultural Center is located at 470 S. Allison Parkway (Wadsworth and West Alameda Avenue).