The Producers

By now, everyone's seen the two movies or the musical version of Mel Brooks' The Producers, so a revival requires some degree of derangement, especially for a small company staging one of its most expensive productions. Luckily, director Steve Tomkins has exactly that degree. He starts with the artistic delusions of would-be Broadway producers Max and Leo, then adds myriad other symptoms of mental dysfunction. Despite our familiarity with the show, he manages to endow a crispy freshness. Like droopy vegetables snapping to life in the fridge, Max Bialystock (short, boxy Richard Gray), nerdy protege Leo Bloom (precision instrument Brian Earp), and long drink of platinum Ulla (bombshell Jessica Skerritt) are made fresh again. As you know, accountant Leo realizes that a theater producer could make more profits from a flop than a hit. Money-mad Max identifies the world's worst script: Springtime for Hitler, penned by F├╝hrer-worshipping Franz Liebkind (David Anthony Lewis). This demands the world's worst director, Roger De Bris (Nick DeSantis), arrayed in Chrysler Building tiara and near-blinding sparkles. (The amazing costumes are the William Ivey Long originals from Broadway, rented). MARGARET FRIEDMAN

July 6-29, 2012

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