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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

April 6, 2018  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

‘The Producers’ opens in downtown St. Pete on April 20

American Stage in the Park is celebrating more than 30 years outdoors with the musical The Producers, a Mel Brooks classic cult comedy that won a record 12 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical,” when it was produced on Broadway.

Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings from April 18-May 13.

It’s only proper to try and make people laugh through the magic of musical comedy. As Mel Brooks once said “You can’t bring dictators down on a soapbox of rhetoric. But if you can make people laugh at them, you’ve won,” said director Rye Mullis.

The story of The Producers centers around down-on-his-luck Broadway producer Max Bialystock, played by St. Petersburg favorite Matthew McGee, and his mild-mannered accountant, Leo Bloom, played by James Larosa. They come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history, bilking their backers out of millions of dollars. Only one thing goes awry: the show – despite, actually because of its offensive title and theme song, “Springtime for Hitler” – is a smash hit. Rather than the serious flop it was intended to be, the audience finds the show hilarious. The Producers skewers Broadway traditions and takes no prisoners as it proudly proclaims itself an “equal opportunity offender.”

Created by Mel Brooks, The Producers has had several incarnations. It was first a 1967 movie with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. Brooks then adapted it as a Broadway musical in 2001, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, which also spawned a 2005 film version.

Established in 1986, American Stage in the Park was first known for presenting Shakespeare to audiences in and around Tampa Bay. American Stage in the Park expanded to include comedies and modern musicals presented under the stars each spring at Demens Landing Park on the corner of First Avenue SE and Bayshore Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.

The park production offers primarily blanket seating (bring blankets and stadium seats with no legs), although there are some reserved chairs. Showgoers may also set up their own folding chairs in the rear. Patrons may bring food for a pre-performance picnic or choose from food and beverages (both alcoholic and non) available at concessions.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the show starts nightly at 8 p.m.

“Pay What You Can” preview performances will be Wednesday and Thursday, April 18 and 19 and the show’s Opening Night Gala is Friday, April 20. Other special event performances are Pride Plus Night on Sunday, April 29 and Pets in the Park Night, May 6.

For more details or to purchase tickets, go to AmericanStage.org.


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