Brittany Pierce-Caiazza’s Review of The Producers

August 13, 2019

Forestburgh Playhouse

Forestburgh

     Forestburgh Playhouse’s latest endeavor, Mel Brooks’s The Producers, is nothing short of enjoyable. With strong performances, simple sets, and great costuming and props (saluting birds anyone?), this is not one to miss.

The Producers has a lifespan well beyond the most recent Broadway run, although many will equate this show with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, when, in fact, Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel originated the roles in the 1967 film. Since the film, it has been on Broadway, on tour, and had a film reboot. And now it lands at the Forestburgh Playhouse with an all-star, tour de force cast. These performers hold nothing back, and in true theatre fashion, roll with the punches, or the ever-opening apartment door as may be the case.

 

 

 

As Max Bialystock, Joel Briel is, in short, dynamo. There is never a lull in his scheming, his enthusiasm, or his energy. He truly, truly embodies all that Max should be. His rendition of “Betrayed” is most enjoyable. As his counterpart, Leo Bloom, Scott Evans is a perfect foil for Briel. He is mousy, hunched, and paranoid. Some of his best moments are when he cuts loose from his Leo-ness: conga dancing, physical comedy, and all of his moments with Ulla. Jordan O’Brien as the love interest Ulla, is fabulous. She is charming, innocent, and sexy. Ulla’s showstopper “When You Got It, Flaunt It” shows that O’Brien does indeed, have it, and can, indeed, flaunt it. This trio is connected and plays off of each other with ease and comfort. They are believable in their respective roles, and you never question that they come together in this outrageous scheme.

 

 

The other dynamic duo that shines throughout is Dirk Lumbard and Andrew Stevens Purdy as Roger Dupree and Carmen Ghia, respectively.  Every single interaction they have is organic and hysterical. The two leave an audience wanting more, and never falter in their presentations of these characters. As Andrew Berlin’s Franz Liebkind, is enjoyable and charming, his “Haben Sie Gehort” is particularly adorable. A special mention to Mackenzie Meyh as a memorable Hold Me-Touch Me. The initial scene between herself and Max is a true moment of stardom for her in this production. The two managed not to overact while pushing all of the boundaries. Kudos.

 

As always, the ResCo is put through their paces and they do so beautifully. The dancing is synchronized, and it was a joy to see the different characters that each created throughout the show. The little moments were most enjoyable: the blind fiddle player, Roger’s production team, and, of course, all of the auditioning Hitlers.

The Producers runs through August 25th. Tickets and information are available at https://www.fbplayhouse.org or by calling the Box Office at 845-794-1194.

        

 

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