The Producers: The Movie Musical

Release Date: December 16, 2005
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Expands to wide release on January 13, 2006
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Friday, September 17, 2004
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Even today, Ferris is hiding from the principal.

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47/166 David Mumpower Affable musical offers constant entertainment. I'm told it's inferior to the Broadway version in every way but having never seen it, this is a more than acceptable substitute for those of us not in

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Universal is bringing the Broadway mega-hit The Producers to the big screen complete with its male leads, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

The big question is whether Susan Stroman, a successful stage director and choreographer, can translate her biggest directing success to film, a medium in which she has no previous experience. Rob Marshall pulled off the feat in 2002's Chicago. Marshall, however, had at least directed stage adaptations for television. Stroman's only TV directing gig was bringing her first stage hit, Contact, to life for a PBS broadcast. That production was very much a film of the stage production, as opposed to Marshall's direction of musicals for TV, which opened up the scenes and used true sets.

Lane and Broderick will not be the draw here; instead the draw will be the movie itself. The musical, based upon the original Mel Brooks comedy starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, the musical tells the story of men attempting to create the worst musical in the world so they can bilk investors, only to create an astounding success. The dialogue for the bulk of the stage production (which will more than likely be transferred intact to the screenplay) is rife with typical Mel Brooks puns, wordplay and subtle (and not so subtle) references to his other movies. The songs are hilarious, but many of them contain lyrics that depend somewhat on your knowledge of Broadway to get their full effect. The big production number, Springtime for Hilter, however, should translate well to film, as it appeared in the first Producers movie. If it doesn't offend you, it will have you laughing in the aisles.

It remains to be seen if a musical in the year 2005, based upon a Broadway smash circa 2001, itself based upon a movie cult favorite circa 1968, starring two less than bankable (in the movie world) stars and heavily dependent upon the humor of a guy whose biggest successes were in the 1970s will be a hit. If it is, Mel can sit back, accept the accolades, count the profits and think, "It's good to be the king!" (Stephanie DeGateo/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Producers: The Movie Musical
Main Cast Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman
Supporting Cast Will Ferrell
Director Susan Stroman
Screenwriter Thomas Meehan, Mel Brooks
Distributor Universal
Rating PG-13
Screen Count 6 (Estimated)
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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