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Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

The Producers

Andrew Meacham

Times Performing Arts Critic

 

ST. PETERSBURG — Without question, Mel Brooks’ The Producers carved a more indelible mark than most of the musicals in the entire genre of throwaway musicals it parodied.

The creator of Get Smart and Blazing Saddles not only co-wrote the adaptation of his own 1967 movie, he composed the music and wrote the lyrics, all while maintaining a militantly juvenile sense of humor that rejects even the idea of artistic significance. For American Stage to select, for its park production, a comedy built around what was funny 50 years ago, a time when millions found Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In hilarious, might seem a bit of a risk. That chancy element grows when two categories of jokes contained therein echo some the darkest corners of the news — the sexual appetites of powerful men and resurgent Nazism.

Director Rye Mullis et al took on the challenges, did not shrink from the risks, and came up with a major hit. The Producers is funny and topical, well-acted, danced, lit, costumed, staged and sung.

Read the rest of the review here.

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