The Producers

  • Directors: Susan Stroman
  • Producers: Mel Brooks
  • Writers: Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical
  • Actors: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell, Gary Beach, Roger Bart, Jon Lovitz

The flop musical “Funny Boy” (based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet) opens – and closes (“Opening Night”). Afterward, Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) arrives at the office of the show’s washed up producer, Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane). Max has hired Leo Bloom as his accountant. While studying Max’s books, Leo inadvertently inspires Max to put on a show that is certain to fail at the box office and cleverly change their accounts leaving them with $2,000,000 to spend. At first, Leo refuses to participate. Max, who cannot change the books himself, attempts to coax Leo into the scheme (“We Can Do It”). Leo still refuses and returns to his old accounting firm, Whitehall & Marks.

After being chastised by Mr. Marks (Jon Lovitz), Leo fantasizes about being a Broadway producer (“I Wanna Be a Producer”). Leo quits his job and with Max, forms Bialystock & Bloom. Max and Leo search for “the worst play ever written” and discover Springtime for Hitler, written by an ex-Nazi named Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell). They are coerced into performing Adolf Hitler’s favorite tune and obeying the sacred “Siegfried Oath” in order to gain Liebkind’s signature for Broadway rights to the musical (“Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop”). They solicit a flamboyant gay director, Roger De Bris (Gary Beach) (“the worst director in the world”), to direct and choreograph the play. De Bris initially refuses saying that the musical is far too dark and gritty and that Broadway needs to be more “gay” (“Keep It Gay”). Roger is talked into it, however, after being enticed by Max and Leo, who tell him that if he directs the play, he is certain to win a Tony. Then, Ulla (Uma Thurman), a beautiful Swedish woman, appears at their office for casting despite there being no auditions. Max insists on hiring her as their secretary and auditioning her (“When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It”).

As the show opens, the audience is horrified and begins to walk out until Roger steps on stage as Hitler. Because his performance is so flamboyant, the audience sees the play as a mockery of Hitler rather than Franz’s original vision (“Springtime for Hitler”). As a result, the show is a success and the IRS will be keeping tabs on Max and Leo. After the show, an angry Franz starts trying to shoot the producers for, despite his show being a hit, making a fool out of Hitler. However, the police arrest him after hearing the shots, but not before breaking his other leg while trying to escape. Max, too, gets arrested for his tax fraud, while Leo and Ulla escape to Rio (“Betrayed”), but they return to stand up for Max in court (“‘Til Him”). The judge sentences them both to five years at Sing Sing, but they and Franz are pardoned after writing a musical in prison (“Prisoners of Love”), and go on to become successful Broadway producers.

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