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The Producers


Max Bialystock, "The King of Broadway," falls on bad times when his most recent play folds after one night. But through the ingenious twists and turns of Mel Brooks' The Producers, recently staged by Jefferson Performing Arts Society, his star will rise again.

  Director Robert Mulholland gathered an exceptional cast for the politically incorrect mayhem — with Chris Wecklein as Bialystock, A.J. Allegra as Leo Bloom (an accountant who dreams of becoming a Broadway producer), Bob Edes Jr. as Roger DeBris, the world's worst (and campiest) director, and Libby Tatum as the irresistible Swedish bombshell Ulla.

  When Bloom discovers a $2,000 error, Bialystock asks him to cook the books. Tensions rise and the accountant is left caressing a tiny blue blanket from his childhood to recover his fragile stability. The big plot moment comes when the accountant realizes a flop might generate more money than a hit. Instead of the petty $100,000 Bialystock just lost, he could raise several million, invest $100,000 in a terrible show and keep the leftover millions for himself, or themselves.

  So begins the exhausting search for the worst of the worst. But first, Bialystock has to "service" one of his investors — an elderly woman known as "hold me, touch me." All of his investors are elderly women who want affection in exchange for their checks.

  Finally, Bialystock locates the surefire flop: Springtime for Hitler. All that's necessary is to assemble a disastrous cast under the direction of DeBris and open the play in New York, where most of the audience will be Jewish.

  Alas, the plan backfires. Springtime for Hitler is a runaway smash. Bialystock and his cooked books end up in jail, leaving Bloom with the cash.

  Alton Geno choreographed the show ingeniously. We even got senior chorines wielding their walkers like flamenco dancers use their castanets. — Dalt Wonk

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