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The Producers
a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Mel Brooks

COMPANY : Rosewater Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Rosewater Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 3403

SHOWING : May 29, 2009 - June 27, 2009

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION


CAST & CREW LIST
Director G. Scott Riley
Music Director Bob Russell
Music Director Frank Steele
Choreographer Colleen Hargis
Sax, Flute and Clarinet Steve Weikle
Ensemble Roger Albelo
Ensemble Rachel All
Ensemble Justin Collins
Leo Bloom Allen Cox
Roger DeBris Allan Dodson
Ensemble Andrea Fennell
Ensemble Eileen M Fulford
Ulla Gretchen Rebecca Gordon
Ensemble & Stage Manager Kevin Kreissl
Ensemble Katie McTeer
Ensemble Mary Beth Morrison
Franz Liebkind Peter Perozzi
Ensemble Kat Reynolds
Ensemble Ramon Rodriguez
Ensemble Cheryl Rogers
Ensemble Tina Shaw
Ensemble Javier Silva
Ensemble Amy Tallmadge
Max Bialystock Brandon Wilkinson
Carmen Ghia Ryan Young
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

We can do it! We can do it! Uh, maybe not.
by Scarecrow
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
2.0
“The Producers” the musical, was created by Mel Brooks when he added music (under the encouragement of his muse and late wife, Anne Bancroft) to his original movie by the same name. Producing “The Producers” is a huge undertaking and a tough act to follow. The 2001 Broadway production won a record breaking 12 Tony awards. Best musical, book, score, orchestration, actor, featured actor, featured actress, scenic, costume, and lighting design, choreography, and director. The show itself gives you a lot to work with, but requires a lot of work. Having seen the show when it came to the Fox Theater and loving it, and on the reputation of past Rosewater productions, I drove out to Roswell to catch their version, excited to see how this community theater group was going to pull off this challenge. It didn’t take long for my excitement to dwindle and expectations to be lowered.

The first act was in their black box theater and the “in the round” configuration left the balance of choral singing less than desired. You heard the part that was standing in front of you. Not a blended sound – not good. Sound for the actors wearing microphones was bad, constantly turning on and off – very noticeable and annoying. The set was amateurish in appearance. Set pieces were cumbersome and slowed the progression from scene to scene. The second act moved to the adjoining theater with a proscenium and curtains. This was a nice idea, moving to a more conventional theater space for the production’s “show within a show”. But the first scene in Act 2 takes place in Bialystock’s office – where much of Act 1 takes place and the continuity was lost. Even in this new space, the scene changes were slow and distracting with the stage crew pulling focus by moving set pieces behind the curtain and dragging the curtain with them. For the most part the costumes were fine (and there were a lot of them). But disappointing were the “Springtime for Hitler” showgirl outfits, Roger DeBris’ dress, and the ill-fitting suit for Leo Bloom. The “Springtime” set was also disappointing. It was boring, unimaginative - completely lacking the “Keep it Gay” mantra of Roger DeBris. The choreography was good. It’s great to see tap dancing in a production, but the lack of precision, especially in simple elements, such as the accountants’ movement when singing “Unhappy”, lowered the visual impact.

Gretchen Gordon as Ulla looked beautiful and sang a difficult song ok. There’s a lot of pressure on a vocalist to rise to the expectations set when the lyrics of your big song announces “now Ulla belts”. She strained to reach and hold her top notes.

“Where did they go right?” Peter Perozzi as Franz Liebkind and Ryan Young as Carmen Ghia both brought much needed energy and life into the slow and tepid first act. Cheryl Rogers, playing multiple roles was terrific. Each character was unique, funny and a joy to watch.

“Where did they go wrong?” Allan Dodson did not fill the shoes (let alone the Prada heels) of the Roger DeBris role. It’s Roger’s performance as Hitler in “Springtime” that accidentally turns the flop into a hit. This is accomplished two-fold: Roger can really sing! However, Roger is a bad actor and it’s his portrayal of Hitler as an over the top flaming egomaniac that wins the audience’s approval. Mr. Dodson’s singing did not have the vocal prowess to “stop the show within the show”, nor did he commit to the gayness and egomania of the Roger DeBris character consistently so that we see Roger (the bad actor) being himself in “Springtime.”

Brandon Wilkinson as Max Bialystock was dismal. His lack of singing ability was almost matched by his lack of comedic timing. The song “Betrayed” was written by Mel Brooks for Max to “stop the show”, not to “kill the show”. Mr. Wilkinson’s rendition was painful to watch, even more painful to hear. The song was intended to joyfully remind the audience of all the wonderful moments they had just witnessed from the beginning of the evening’s production. Sadly, it had the reverse effect. It was a painful summary of a less than desirable performance from what should be the show’s strongest character. Mr. Wilkinson’s Max, left partner Allen Cox in the role of Leo Bloom, with little to play off of.

It’s a big risk and big expense to take on “The Producers.” Did Rosewater “do it”? Yes, they produced “The Producers”. Did Rosewater meet the challenge? My opinion: take the money and run to Rio!
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
My opinion
by HonestReviewer
Thursday, June 18, 2009
4.0
I think that it's time to provide a review that truly speaks to what encompasses this show. First of all, I thought the show was good. I don't think it was perfect, by any means. Yet, I give it a solid "B" performance. Here is what I liked about it:

1. Due to the size of this show, along with the people he had to work with, I thought that G. Scott Riley did an outstanding job as director. Certainly, there were a few moments where I would have suggested something else, but overall, he did an amazing job with this show.
2. I thought the ensemble did a fantastic job as a whole. Their individual characters were excellent and commend them on part of the reason the show was a success.
3. Ryan Young, Peter Perrozi, Gretchen Rebecca Gordon, Allen Cox, Ramon Rodriguez, and Cheryl Rogers were amazing. All of them took a scene and ran with it. If it wasn't for them and the ensemble as a whole, the scenes would have put me to sleep.
4. The costumes, while a bit lacking in details from time to time, where pretty well executed. I have to give the costume designer kudos for this one due to the massive amounts of costumes they had to create.
5. The band was very good. Bob Russell certainly did a great job with pulling the combo together.
6. Lighting was also an exceptional job. I thought the lighting cues were timed well and the spotlight certainly helped.
7. The cast is to be commended on one heck of good choreography. I hear that the choreographer was a bit psycho (yes, I do hear things through the grapevine), but the cast certainly deserves the credit on this one. I particularly liked the regular dancers (the ones that did "I want to be a Producer" song and the "Springtime for Hitler" scene). They were amazing.

Now, what did I not like about the show? Well...

1. I didn't like the set design. I thought that it looked rushed to be assembled for the show. There were plenty of lacking elements that should have been paid attention to.
2. I thought that Max Bialystock killed Act 2. There is something about his acting that did not appeal to me. His facial expressions remained almost constant throughout the show and his singing was, well, not good. Yet, you could tell that he knew he was not a good singer and tried to cover it up by handling the music differently. Although that was a valiant effort on his part, that part needs to be strong and felt that he lacked in this department. His song, "Betrayed" was just awful. He was out of breath and forced the band to slow down to accomodate his lack of energy. I believe that if Rosewater had found a good Max, this show would have been close to a "5", but Max is the reason it didn't rate that high of a number.
3. Roger DeBris also lacked in the flamboyant department. He came across as a straight man feeling uncomfortable about playing a gay man. Enough said.
4. I thought the music direction of this show was very poor. I'm not referring to the band (as I mentioned above that it was fantastic). I'm talking about getting the people to actually sing was very poorly directed. Max, Leo, and everyone else seemed to start singing about three or four words into the lyrics on many of the songs.

Other than these, I think the show as a whole was very well directed and a decent performance. Rosewater has had some better shows and they have, most certainly, had some worse shows. I believe stacked up with a lot of other community theater around town, they have certainly put their mark on this year. So, take it for what it's worth, but that's my honest opinion. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Amazing by MrPurple
That every great review of this show is by a "New" reviewer". Also amazing that you can give a show a 4 with a serious list of flaws that you listed. A 4.0 for a musical who's music direction you stated was poor? Come on. This show is a dud, and a failure. This seems like an attempt to cash in despite a poor show.
@ MrPurple by wilson007
MrPurple, I can not find the words to describe what a whiner you must be in real life. Since it is obvious you are tied to the same cronies as the rest of your feline friends, do you seriously think that by degrading a show that rivals the one you were involved with, it will change opinions of those who don't have an agenda? Do the rest of the viewing population a favor and soak yourself in flea dip and stop pawing at everyone else. Your show was not all that good either.
What? by MrPurple
I'm a bit confused. Not sure who you think I am. I simply just did not like this show.
Well by wilson007
then quit whining about someone else's review. You did not like it then that is fine. Leave it at that. I saw the show and even though I do not agree entirely with this review it was most certainly honest.
well... by MrPurple
That's what we do here-comment on shows and other reviews. Check out a bunch of other reviewsa nd you will see the same thing. I don't really trust someone named "honest reviewer" anymore than a used Car salesman named "Honest herb". I also want to say that it is that that sets me off. Not someone liking teh show. As I stated in my review-there were some good things about it. AND I have been tos everal Rosewater shows that I loved. This one just failed for me on many levels. I would like to see more positive posts on this show from reviewers with at least a star. Not "New". Which translates-I only created a new name to promote this show. Another clue-The reviews appeared the day before the next weekend of shows, not right after the last weekend of shows. So, forgive me for being suspicious. Also- I have no doubt that the show did get better over time. I just can't believe it go that much better unlessyou flew in the touring cast.
I don't understand by HonestReviewer
I'm not sure what the fuss is all about, but I was trying to give a decent review of this show. Just because I had 4 things I didn't like about the show does not warrant a "1.5" rating as you may think MrPurple. I can tell you this much, I'm not part of the show or this theatre. I do admit that I know a few people from the show and have heard the horror stories that went into putting this production together. However, I have no reason to feel like I need to advertise it. I can't speak for the other newbies, but I can speak for myself. I ask you this, if it's possible for you to feel so badly about a production, how is it not possible that I could feel differently? Do you have the monopoly on feelings toward productions and everyone else is wrong if it doesn't agree with yours? If I really wanted to promote a show, I wouldn't mention that I didn't like the performance of the key lead of the show. I don't know, just a thought.
clarification by MrPurple
Of course you are entitled. My opinion isn't just mine though, you can read several. My intention actuallyw asn't at you, but several "New" reviewers with unabashed praise. Even one guy saying he liked the fact that the lead couldn't sing, itmade it real. This is musical theatre, real? I may have mistakingly caught you up with ageneral potshot. My point is (Where it applies) don't just create an account to review & advertise a show. If you are a sincere reviewer, you will be back and I apologize for lumping you in or generalizing.
Just a thought... by DrJ
Mr Purple- just a note- I notice that you yourself have only written 4 reviews total on this site, so....not exactly a "Master" reviewer yourself. Why, a mere 3 shows ago you were a "New" reviewer! Did you start posting just to promote a show as you accuse so many other of doing? Or will you concede the point that if you want to review- you have to start with the first one and be a new reviewer to begin?
And if you will note, the purpose of this site is to provide opinions and critiques of the shows, not what you think of other people's thoughts of the shows. There has been a LOT of controversy on this site in the past, with reviews and whole shows being yanked off the site because of said controversy- and it's because of people like you who can't seem to understand that some people have different opinions and different criteria for judging a show. And because of people like you, who just feel the need to argue and debase others, it makes theaters and beginning productions teams not even want to put their shows up here for review. I happen to know several directors who will not allow their casts to read this site during production, and even more directors who don't want ot even list their shows here- Not because they are afraid of honest reviews and constructive criticisms, but because they don't want their actors to get caught up in the spiteful, histrionic rantings that can spawn off a single review here. I'm just saying....
Okay by MrPurple
A) this was resolved a while ago
B) MY first reviews were not "Glowing" so the idea that I was promoting something shows your ignorance.
C) I am allowed as yous ay to post a counterpoint as well (Just like you did).
D) let sleeping dogs lie.
That Fabulous Show!
by musicalmama
Thursday, June 18, 2009
5.0
I love Musicals and The Producers is one of my favorites. The Rosewater Theatre has outdone themselves with this gem. I was there last Saturday and it was sold out!

Brandon Wilkinson is a wonderful Max and very much reminds you of Nathan Lane. Allen Cox as Leo Bloom exceeded my expectations. His expressions are priceless throughout the whole show and it is particularly appealing in the intimate setting of their theatre in the round. Who says Ulla has to be a towering blonde. I could not imagine anyone else playing the part. Gretchen Rebecca Gordon is Ulla bundled up into a dynomite package. One of the highlights is "That Face" Simply fabulous. I thoroughly enjoyed Allan Dodson and Springtime for Hitler was the best. Roger DeBris's staff were wonderful. The woman playing Shirley Moscowitz was hysterical and I believe she also played a number of other characters including Hold Me Touch Me. Rosewater has found a real diamond in her. I absolutely loved Carmen Ghia and hope to see the fellow playing him in more productions. Peter Perozzi is wonderful as Franz Liebkind. You just never know what to expect when he walks on the stage and that really is what makes his performance so marvelous. The dancers were awesome and it is nice to see good quality tap dancing in a show.

Sets were great and esp. enjoyed the office changing from an office in the round to an all white set in Act II. It was different and very clever to move from one theatre to another.

All in all this is a wonderful production and all involved should be commended. A must see. I understand it runs until June 27 so there are not too many more performances! Would I see it again? You betcha. Just as good as their rendition of Chicago which I would go see again too. Rosewater needs to do more musicals because they are certainly in their element when it comes to that venue [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
"The Producers"
by tascam
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
4.5
My wife and I have been visiting relatives who had seen the Rosewater production of "The Producers." Based upon their recommendation, we attended the performance last Saturday night. What a pleasant surprise. We absolutely loved it.
What a clever idea to present the production in two venues. Act one took place in the "round" and act 2 was presented in the main theater.
We also enjoyed the live orchestra as opposed to "tracks" which are usually utilized for some musicals.
We almost fell out of our chairs when we heard "Keep it Gay." It was presented with a light spirit without being over the top.
Ulla's (Gretchen R Gordon) singing was outstanding and the ensemble had some fine voices which carried many of the main themes of this production. Also a big congratulations to Allan Dodson, Allen Cox, Brandon Wilkinson and Ryan Young for their work in this wonderful production.
Also a big hats off to Bob Russell for his sensitivity and accompaniment skills
as musical director.
This show is well worth seeing. It is a great evening out for mom and dad.
We loved it! You will also be captivated by this wonderful evening of entertainment.

[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
it was very very good
by bidragon
Sunday, June 7, 2009
4.5
i have only seen one other play by the rosewater company and i have also been part of one of the plays.so i was expecting something very good and i must say that it was amamzing the dancers were great and i loved all the old ladys. and for the main role i think brandon wilkinson wasperfect vioce and all because it made him seem real. Ulla was also amazing and her voice was just as good. the costumes and the amazing dance seans were just the cherry on top. this is a show i wouldnt mind seeing a few more times, because it always keeps a smile on your face.and the fact that it's on two types of stages just makes it even more interesting [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Unhappy, Unhappy, Verrrrrrrrrrry Unhappy
by TheatreJock
Saturday, June 6, 2009
2.0
Rosewater's production of "The Producers" is advertised as the metro Atlanta premiere of the Mel Brooks hit. Although the national tour of the show did play Atlanta, this is the first production by a local company. Their excitement shows, some good ideas surface, and they certainly work hard, but the production ultimately is not a good one. It's a problem every community theatre has: how to effectively stage a big, brassy musical without the big, brassy resources. It can be done, and has been done, but it requires great creativity, imagination and a the ability to reimagine a show--resources this "Producers" lack. The vision for this production appears to be channeling the movie.

One big problem is the music. Actors give very timid, hesitant musical entrances and often seem out of sync with the band. Many times singers wander far off pitch--as though they can't hear the band. Too much of the music has this cautious, hesitant, plodding feel to it. And too many times the singers, including the leads, seemed to not really know the numbers they are performing. Add to this the problematic sound: dialogue not amplified, and then up for musical numbers--but usually in a hit and miss, sometimes blaring, fashion, which is jarring and annoying.

The set has a rough, unfinished look--with some odd touches, such as the lace tablecloth on Max's desk. Other pieces, such as the piano, which isn't a piano at all, but a built set-piece, looks really odd, has no real purpose, and is cumbersome to move on and off stage. In fact, all of the scene changes are cumbersome and interminable...including a 30-minute intermission. Act I is performed on one stage (in the round), while Act II moves next door. It's an interesting idea, which does not work. Moving the band seems to be the reason for the long intermission. But things don't imporve with the new location. Awkward staging and slow pacing continue. The set for the show within a show, "Springtime for Hitler" is clunky and unfinished looking, with a big staircase which the actors navigate with clumsy, hesitant movements.

Among the large cast, Peter Perozzi takes the acting prize. His first appearance as Franz Liebkind brings a desperately needed snap and energy. Though sometimes vocally weak, he still gives a wonderful performance and is a welcome sight whenever he appears. Allan Dodson is interesting to watch in his first scene as "keep it gay" director Roger DeBris. But he is hampered by an unattractive, ill-fitting costume, not at all what the director-in-drag should wear. Roger badly needs some real glamour, flash and a heavy application of make-up. Dodson gives it a good effort, but his movements seem awkward and uncomfortable. His "common law assistant", play by Ryan Young is appropriately flamboyant and fabulous, right down to his hilarious soprano obbligato on "Keep It Gay". Also giving a good performance is Gretchen Gordon as Ulla--a great look, great attitude and consistent.

As for the two leads: Allen Cox, as Leo, is also consistent, energetic and gives a decent performance (but couldn't someone have found him pants that were long enough, instead of sewing the black "ruffles" to the cuffs on his Act II costume? Very cheesy.) Not so lucky is Brandon Wilkinson as Max Bialystock. He has the look and an occasional good moment, but overall, it's a tentaive, weak performance. Max doesn't need a beautiful, operatic voice, but he does need a singing voice as big and confident as his personality. Wilkinson's biggest number, "Betrayed", is his lowest point...disappointing and lackluster when it should have been a showstopper. And in his final moments with Leo ("Prisoners of Love"), he appears to know neither the lyrics or choreography...a very clumsy finale.

Most of the problems of "The Producers" seem related to direction, both stage and musical. You can see the potential in much of the show, but ultimately, it's an unfulfilled, disappointing and "what might have been" production. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Lukewarm feelings.....
by theaterislife
Monday, June 1, 2009
2.0
My husband and I attended Saturday night’s performance of The Producers at Rosewater Theatre. This was our first time visiting this group since they moved from the Cumming Playhouse. There were highs and sadly many lows for this production.

The theater itself is pleasant. There is a black box theater on one side and a main stage on the other. The issue with having a black box theater like this one is for the late comers it was hard to sneak in without being distractive. There were a few folks that had to do death defying stunts to avoid getting on the stage but I’ll quit ranting about that and move on to my critique.

The band was great. I didn’t learn until the second act that there was one man playing the clarinet, saxophone and flute. Now that’s talent…having switched from the clarinet to the sax and back to the clarinet myself…moving on

The set worked on the blackbox side though not lightening fast scene changes at least the actors stayed in character as they moved the various pieces around. The set on the mainstage was disappointing and technically it looked as if there were issues with set changes. Sometimes simple can be better in a limited space. There were Christmas lights but only half of them worked….. The costuming was decent for Max, Leo and Ulla but left much to be desired in “Springtime for Hitler”.

The lighting was adequate but the sound was horrible. The microphones were humming and cutting in and out. I recall a similar problem when I saw Chicago. As nice as it is to have mics they should be working properly or not used at all. I’ll try to cut them a little slack it being the first weekend but it was definitely a constant distraction. The choreography was impressive and I imagine quite a feat for the ensemble and the choreographer. I would love to know who the choreographer was but it was hard to tell in the program.

Allen Cox as Leo Bloom was a great actor and by far one of the strongest performers in this show. He captured the character effectively and was convincing. His dancing was impressive as well. He is a true showman. In contrast Brandon Wilkinson as Max Bialystock does not have the musicality and vocal ability to carry this role. He was consistently flat and winded throughout the performance. I found “Betrayed” to be the worst. He was a decent actor however had a lack of facial expressions which is vital to any musical theater performance.

Gretchen Gordon was passable as Ulla but I was disappointed in her lack of vocal direction in “When you got it flaunt it”. After reading her credits you would think she would be more of a polished singer however her high notes were sharp and her belting was flat. She was spot on with her acting and accent however once or twice she sounded more Southern than Swedish. As stated by a previous post, her height threw me off as well.

Peter Perozzi was pretty well cast as Franz Liebkind however his diction was lacking at times and I had trouble understanding him. In my opinion Ryan Young as Carmen Ghia stole the scenes and show. He was phenomenal and absolutely hilarious. I enjoyed Allan Dodson as Roger Debris though he seemed to lose some steam in the latter part of the second Act. That is easy to understand though….it’s a long show. The ensemble was strong for the most part. I could have done without the shrill soprano notes at the end of some songs.

Overall it was a valiant effort however, I was disappointed in the quality as a whole which is why I give this a 2.0. That being said I say go and support the theater. Maybe some things will improve in the next few weeks.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A Bad Show About Putting On A Bad Show?
by MrPurple
Monday, June 1, 2009
1.5
I have enjoyed many productions by Rosewater. Woman In Black, The Elephant Man and Barefoot In The Park were all at the very least adequate shows. I was excited to see the Producers, expecially with their great track record for musicals. This production cost more, and gave less. First let me point out the bright spots of this show. The choreography was nicely done, and Allen Cox as Leo Bloom gave us what we expected out of an iconic role. After that, sadly, it is all down hill. Brandon Wilkinson was poorly cast as Max. He simply can't sing. He had some comic timing in dialogue scenes, but that was it. Ula must have been about 5 feet tall. Though nice, she didn't fit the part of the towering swedish diva. The band was nice, but the singing tragicly imperefct. The sets were cheap looking and looked half hazzard. Rope lights and christmas lights...and that's about it. Really? The costumes looked half put together as well. That is with exception of Max & Leo. How could the same production team of Chicago, give us such a weak and enemic "Atlanta Premier"? It was 3 hours that I will never get back. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Unfortunate by Porcelaindoll0913
I would advise you to come back for the show a second time. It is most unfortunate, but the opening weekend of "The Producers" was more like previews due to things coming together last minute. The show has gotten progressively better and has been receieving standing ovations the past two weekends from a packed house!


[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

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