Max Bialystock is a washed-up Broadway producer who is, how to put it, morally fluid. After his latest musical closes almost before the opening night curtain goes down, he’s out of ideas, out of options, and out of money. Until, that is, he meets Leo Bloom, an accountant with enough neuroses to fill a textbook. When Bloom, upon examining Max’s books, jokes it would be possible, with some creative bookkeeping, to make more money from a flop than with a hit, Max seizes upon the idea, recruiting his malleable new accountant friend to help. All they have to do is raise two million dollars, find the worst play ever written and hire the worst director and actors in the world. Simple, right? It would seem so until Springtime For Hitler, a musical comedy, hits their desk. It’s a can’t miss flop. A musical in which the Nazis were the good guys and won the war has to bomb, right? Right?
The Producers, a Mel Brooks Musical, produced by The Actors Guild of Parkersburg, is to put it bluntly, as rude and raunchy as you would expect from a Mel Brooks production. And it’s also every bit as gut-achingly hilarious as you would expect from a Brooks piece. Under the direction of Brent Null, with musical direction by Mike Lockney, this is laugh-out-loud show starring R.J. Lowe as Max Bialystock, a part seemingly written for the inimitable Lowe. Chris Parsons as Leo Bloom, his partner in crime, is more than equal to the task of trading quips with Lowe. Alexis Parsons is quite memorable as Ulla, Max’s and Leo’s bombshell of an assistant, as is George Litman as Franz Liebkind, the playwright with a soft spot for der Feuhrer. As is always true with the Guild, the whole cast is stellar, as is the set.
I mean no disrespect to the rest of the cast, but this is R.J. Lowe’s show. He has never submitted a poor performance at the Guild, but this might well be his best. So if you are a fan of his, you definitely do not want to miss it. So, get your tickets immediately. Be aware that the dates originally published have been slightly altered due to the first weekend being scrubbed. Here are the new dates. Opening night is now scheduled for Friday, April 29 with 2:30 and 8:00 performances on Saturday, April 30 and a 6:00 pm showing on Sunday, May 1. The next week will consist of 8:00 shows on May 5, 6, and 7, along with another 2:30 pm show on May 6. Get your tickets before they all sell out. You’ll be glad you did!