Producing “The Producers”

By Daniel Cobb

April 3, 2014

By Brooke Anderson From the big-screen to the hit Broadway musical, the department of theatre and cinema brings us the Mel Brooks production of “The Producers.” Riley Bayer, playing the role of Franz Liebkind, gave a short summary of the production. “The Producers is about two guys -- named Max and Leo -- who pretty much come up with this scheme about how you can make more profits from doing a bad play than a good play,” Bayer said. The play revolves around many characters and cast members, including Roger De Bris, played by Caleb Hazelwood, and Carmen Ghia, played by Thomas Delgado. “I play Roger Depree, who is the director they choose to direct their musical, and the reason they choose him is because they think he is sure to butcher the show,” Hazelwood said. The musical follows an unsuccessful musical producer, Max Bialystock, who thinks he can make more money from doing a bad play than a great one. “The show is about a producer who is known for making flops,” Delgado said. Being both a comedy and a musical, Bayer and Hazelwood explained that the hardest part in putting this production together was the musical numbers and solos. “This is the first time I’ve ever had any solos,” Bayer said. “Also, just getting the German accent and the dialect [was difficult].” Hazelwood considers how the entire production is a non-stop musical treat. “The show is a train that does not stop from the beginning to the end,” Hazelwood said, “Every other musical number is a huge ensemble number, and it’s like that for about two hours and fifty minutes.” Aside from zany characters and a comedic plot scheme, the musical also involves quite a few dance numbers. “It’s literally like musical number after musical number after musical number, with a little bit of dialogue in between,” said Delgado. These constant numbers require a lot of effort from the performers, but the cast knows that it is important that each musical number be bigger than the last. “The most difficult part is retaining the stamina and making sure the last number is just as big and entertaining as the first,” Hazelwood said. “The Producers,” with comedy, extensive dance and musical numbers, is very different than other shows Missouri Western previously performed. “It’s probably the biggest show we’ve put on here at Western. Lots of prop changes, and honestly, it’s the funnest show we’ve put on,” Bayer said. Hazelwood explained that, in “The Producers,” no topic is safe from criticism. “You enter the theatre completely aware that nobody is safe,” Hazelwood said. “Nobody’s beliefs and nobody’s convictions are safe, because it’s a time when you can just step back and laugh at everything.” Delgado explained the props and costumes for “The Producers,” and how even the set is different than other production sets this season. “The costumes are big, they’re glitzy and they’re gay,” Delgado said. “That’s sort of the theme of the show, it’s just like being gay, both the happy term and the homosexual term. The sets are ginormous. Every cast member has at least ten or more costume changes, and it’s a huge cast.” If you’re still wondering if you should go and see the production “The Producers,” then take Hazelwood and Baker’s advice. “You don’t have to be specifically interested in theatre to enjoy this show,” Hazelwood said. “This show can appeal to anyone’s sense of humor, and that’s the best part.” “If you like to laugh, come see it, it’s a funny show,” Bayer said. The show runs from April 3-13 in Potter Hall Theatre.