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THE PRODUCERS - NZ premiere at The Court Theatre

THE PRODUCERS - NZ premiere at The Court Theatre November 24
Mel Brooks’ Smash Comedy Musical “The Biggest Show The Court Has Ever Done”

On November 24 the lights will go up on the funniest – and most ambitious – musical The Court Theatre has ever staged: Mel Brooks’ record-breaking The Producers. This New Zealand première mixes broad comedy, outrageous characters and punchy one-liners with elaborate costumes and huge production numbers in a night of musical mirth that will burst onto The Court’s stage.

When unscrupulous Broadway producer Max Bialystock (played by Stephen Ray) and nervous accountant Leo Bloom (Cameron Douglas) realise that they can make more money with a flop than with a hit, they set out to put on “the worst show ever written”, pocket the investors’ cash and head to Rio. Being a Mel Brooks story, of course, things don’t proceed exactly as planned…

Brooks’ adaptation of his 1968 movie was a Broadway smash: setting a new record for single-day box office gross in 2001 (breaking it again in 2003) and winning an unprecedented twelve Tony Awards® including Best Musical and Best Original Score. With a record-breaking year of attendance at The Court Theatre, the stage is set for this epic undertaking.

Sandra Rasmussen, no stranger to “big” musicals after last year’s phenomenally successful Guys and Dolls, returned to find directing and choreographing The Producers a new experience altogether. The range of crazy characters, the snappy dialogue, and the fast paced scene changes (one taking the audience from an oppressive accountancy firm to a full-fledged Broadway fantasy); the scale is unlike anything achieved by any other professional New Zealand theatre. Rasmussen explains, “It’s been a mammoth undertaking – but one full of laughs all the way”. Musical Director Richard Marrett adds “It is a musical so rich, that at every step of the way we’ve marvelled at its wit, intelligence, satire and elegance.”

Local entertainer and two-time World of Wearable Art finalist Patrick Duffy and partner Jane Diamond found the task of designing elaborate costumes for a musical (as well as a musical within a musical) a welcome challenge. “Everyone has been working full tilt to have everything perfect for the première,” says Duffy, “it’s been a total team effort”. From wardrobe to workshop; every department at The Court has been full of dedicated staff relishing the opportunity to create Broadway magic in The Producers’ New Zealand debut.

When Mel Brooks’ crazy world of singing pigeons, Swedish bombshells, Zimmer-frame-dancing little old ladies and a chorus line of singing Nazis comes to life on The Court’s stage on November 24, it will be the culmination of over a year’s planning, five weeks rehearsal and concerted effort from countless people on and off stage to ensure The Producers opens with a bang. The result will be a “boom” of musical hilarity New Zealand audiences have never seen before. As Mel Brooks put it: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”.


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