Perhaps you remember the original film version of "The Producers". This is the one where Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock and Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom conceive a cunning plan. They will put on a terrible Broadway show, which is sure to be cancelled so that they can abscond to Rio with all the backing money. The show that they put on is called "Springtime for Hitler" and a great opportunity for bad taste, but things start to go wrong when the show is a huge success. "The Producers" was also a great success for Mel Brooks and he went on to write, direct, produce and sometimes appear in "Blazing Saddles", "High Anxiety", "Spaceballs", "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and many others. Brooks' wife Anne Bancroft persuaded him to revisit the earlier film and turn "The Producers" into a Broadway production. This he duly did and the resulting Musical won several "Tonys" when released on Broadway in 2001.
Real life seems to have followed art on this occasion, and "The Producers" has proved so successful in this theatrical format that it is now opening in other parts of the world. A CD has been released with the original broadway cast starring Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock and Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom, and there is also a "making of" DVD showing the recording sessions. You should not expect the music to be particularly original, but the songs are very funny and the show a lot of fun. The music owes a lot to the style of the great Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, with hints of traditional German bands and the Jewish bits suggesting Fiddler on the Roof. Mel Brooks wrote the songs "Springtime for Hitler" and "Prisoners of Love" for the original film version which was ably scored by John Morris, who worked with Brooks on most of his films. More than 30 years later, Brooks has written additional songs for this musical version, which owes much of its impact to the arranging talents of Glen Kelly. The resulting musical is very satisfying as a feel-good show, with the expected song and dance routines, a touch of romance, lots of situational humour and some wonderful characterisation.
In a curious twist of fate, there is now to be a film version of the stage musical based on the film about a stage musical! Watch out for it hitting screens near you sometime very soon. The piano/vocal sheet music for this stage musical is available from The Music Room, as is the adapted music for the The Producers: the Movie Musical.
This CD of the original cast performance of Mel Brooks' The Producers is available from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. The full track listing is shown below, and the DVD about the making of this recording called "Recording The Producers" can be found at these links: Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
The Producers opened in London on 9th November 2004 at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, starring Richard Dreyfuss as Max Bialystock and Lee Evans as Leo Bloom, and it's still going strong! To Celebrate the show's arrival in the UK we had 5 copies of the Original Cast Recording CD to give away. The competition is now closed - congratulations to the winning entrants. For the record, the answer to the question Who played the character "Leo Bloom" in the original film version of The Producers? is Gene Wilder. Easy!