Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

Quasi-Dueling Producers

Two Different Productions of Mel Brooks’ Comedy Open This Weekend

By Russ Bickerstaff
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As mentioned before, there are a lot of shows opening this weekend. Trying to figure out a pattern to openings in the Milwaukee theatre season can be a strange kind of Rorschach test. I’m not quite sure of what it says about the local theatre community that two of the shows opening in Milwaukee this weekend happen to be two entirely different productions of Mel Brooks' The Producers, so I think I’ll just mention it as a curiosity.

The fact is, The Producers one of the most successful musical comedies to come out of Broadway in the past few years. And while it’s perfectly okay to criticize Broadway for not having any ideas of its own what with all of the musicals that have been based on movies lately, The Producers really is a show that translates well onstage so it's going to have a really s trong commercial appeal that will see a number of regional productions popping up in the years to come.

I’d already mentioned a few different time s in a few different places that Carte Blanche has a production of the show opening this Thursday at its intimate space on on 1024 South 5th street. The very next day, the Shorewood Players open a production of the musical on Oakland and Capitol. Both productions close November 22nd. Both companies spend a considerable amount of money on set, costuming and both have a sizeable orchestra backing up the singers. Given the dynamics of local theatregoers, its unlikely that they're in direct competition. The two comapnies have distinctly different followings and its doubtful that anyone will be attending both. I'd love to be the one person (or perhaps one of the few people) taking in both productions this weekend, but with so many other shows opening, it's just not going to happen. I'm practically overbooked this weekend as it is . . .

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