The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Department of Theatre and Dance will stage one of its most ambitious productions to date as it brings the musical comedy “The Producers” to audiences May 3–5 and 8–10.
“The Producers” will be performed in Jenkins Theatre in the Noel Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage St., at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, and Wednesday through Friday, May 8–10. A 2 p.m. matinee will be performed Sunday, May 5.
Admission is $17 for adults, $16 for senior citizens and $12 for students. Tickets are available at the Information and Tickets Office in the Dreyfus University Center, http://tickets.uwsp.edu, or by calling 715-346-4100 or 800-838-3378.
Based on a film written by Mel Brooks, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical tells the story of a down-on-his-luck producer, Max Bialystock (played by Nick Wheeler, Moorhead, Minn.), and his mild-mannered accountant, Leo Bloom (played by John Ford-Dunker, Fargo, N.D.), as they try to cheat all their backers out of millions by producing a show, “Springtime for Hitler,” as the most notorious flop in Broadway history. There’s only one problem—the show becomes a smash hit.
“The show is Mel Brook’s love letter to old Broadway,” says its director, Alan Patrick Kenny, assistant professor at UW-Stevens Point. “It’s a throwback to the golden age of musicals. We are bringing that vision to life, making it the biggest show I’ve ever directed.”
Consider: The production uses about 500 props, 1,000 light bulbs and a dozen different old-school wagon and scenic units created under the leadership of set designer Greg Kaye, an assistant professor of theatre. Costume designer and assistant professor Sandy Childers and her student crew are putting together 250 costumes for a cast of 25, some with several characters and multiple costume changes.
A 14-member orchestra will perform songs, including “Springtime for Hitler” and “King of Broadway,” with students’ dance choreography by Jeannie Hill, associate professor of dance.
With its unusual characters, songs and unlikely “bromance” between the two anti-heroes, “each scene is like visiting a zoo exhibit,” said Kenny. “The fun for the audience is observing each of the crazy characters in their natural habitats. The show is full of constant surprises.”