The cast of The Producers. Photo courtesy of Clarksville Little Theatre.
Music & Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Book by Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan
Directed by Russell Spencer
Review by Brian Kennedy
Entire contents copyright © 2016 by Brian Kennedy. All rights reserved
To respond to a line in The Producers, this big mouth will not stay shut. The Clarksville Little Theatre production was a solid laugh-out-loud experience from opening song to final curtain.
The Producers features down-in-the-critical-and-commercial-dumps producer Max Bialystock (Chris Haulter) and accountant Leo Bloom (Cameron Connors). Bloom, looking over Bialystock’s books, comes up with the theory that having a Broadway flop could actually make a profit (with a few accounting changes). Bialystock hears this and, with a reluctant Bloom on board, sets off to find the worst script, director, and actors possible. The duo finds a script, all right — it is essentially a love letter to Hitler!
Haulter and Connors’ chemistry was fun to watch, especially at a point when Bloom loses a secret item and becomes hysterical. Connors’s physical comedy and facial expressions along with Haulter’s reactions were well timed and hilarious, and their energy stayed up the entire way, although Connors was sometimes hard to hear even in the sixth row solely because of inconsistent voice projection.
The supporting players and ensemble shone in each of their roles, making it clear they were having fun. Special props go to Isaiah Hein, with his zany over-the-top Carmen Ghia, and the cast members involved during the energetic “Keep It Gay,” which was the standout moment of the show (even beating the signature song “Springtime for Hitler,” although that well-performed number was funny, too).
Also, the performance of “That Face,” a number between Bloom and secretary-receptionist-actress-love interest Ulla (Carrie Ketterman), was a good moment. Their obvious chemistry and pleasant vocals helped bring a sweet, wonderful, extra dimension to the show. (On the other hand, whoever was working the black curtains during the show needs to get that situation fixed. At several points, the curtain failed to cover props or sets using in other scenes, leading to an unnecessary distraction. Examples include the curtain getting hung up on a door midway through Act 1. Also, the curtain did not cover the set from the “Springtime for Hitler” scene until late in Act 2 and the performance of “Where Did We Go Right?”)
The group puts on the show, and to the surprise of Bialystock and Bloom, it’s a hit. That raises a host of new issues for them. It also leads to many more hilarious moments that people will have to go to Clarksville Little Theatre to see.
Let’s make one thing clear: This show is not for the easily offended. Those who are not, however, will experience a very entertaining, amusing show that is a great way to end Clarksville Little Theatre’s 2015-16 season.
May 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 8:00PM
May 15 at 2:00PM
Clarksville Little Theatre
301 E. Montgomery Avenue
Brian Kennedy is a nearly life-long Louisville resident who has performed in plays since 2004. He also wrote extensively about the Louisville theatre scene for Louisville.com and Examiner.com from 2009-2015. Currently, he maintains the theatre blog LouBriantheater. When not involved in the theatre scene, he is an avid runner, participating in 5Ks throughout the state and in southern Indiana.