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.

Hairspray

  • Directors: Adam Shankman
  • Producers: Adam Shankman, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Bob Shaye, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Toby Emmerich
  • Writers: John Waters, Thomas Meehan, Leslie Dixon, Mark O Donnell
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, James Marsden, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney, Taylor Parks, Jerry Stiller, Paul Dooley

May 3, 1962. Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), a cheerful, rotund high school student living in Baltimore, Maryland steps out of her apartment (“Good Morning Baltimore”), only to endure a day’s worth of school so she and her best friend Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes) can race home to view their favorite TV show, The Corny Collins Show. The program, a teen dance show, is broadcast from Baltimore’s station WYZT on weekday afternoons (“The Nicest Kids in Town”).

The teenagers featured on the show attend Tracy and Penny’s school, among them the arrogant and wealthy Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow) and her boyfriend Link Larkin (Zac Efron), the lead male dancer on the show. Amber’s mother, Velma (Michelle Pfeiffer) manages station WYZT and goes out of her way to make sure that Amber is prominently featured and that The Corny Collins Show remains a racially segregated program. Corny Collins (James Marsden) and all of his “Council Members” are white; black kids are only allowed on The Corny Collins Show on “Negro Day”, held the last Tuesday of each month and hosted by local R&B radio disc jockey Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah), who also owns her own record shop on North Avenue.

Against all expectations, Little Inez receives the most votes and wins the pageant, officially integrating The Corny Collins Show. A perturbed Velma loudly declares her frustration, informing her daughter of the tally-switching scheme. Unknown to Velma, Edna and Wilbur have turned a camera on her, and Velma’s outburst is broadcast on the air, causing her to be fired from the program. Meanwhile, The Corny Collins Show set explodes into a celebration as Tracy and Link cement their love with a kiss (“You Can’t Stop the Beat”).