“THE PRODUCERS” A SURE FIRE HIT IN IVORYTON

BONNIE GOLDBERG

When a staid and conservative accountant meets a conniving and opportunistic theatrical producer, it is a match made in shyster heaven. The number cruncher Leopold hatches a scheme that appeals to the avaricious drama diva Max and soon the pair is off to make millions.

If you want to go along for the glorious ride, hang on to the coattails of Michael McDermott’s Leo Bloom and R. Bruce Connelly’s Max Bialystock in the Ivoryton Playhouse’s rousing romp of a musical, Mel Brooks and Thomas Meechan’s ‘The Producers,” until Sunday, July 31.

Max and Leo’s plan is simple and ingenious: find the world’s worst play, cast terrible actors, hire a dreadful director and then raise tons of dollars by selling shares that are sure to never make a penny for the unwitting investors. With the cardinal rule that “the IRS isn’t interested in a show that flops,” “Springtime for Hitler” is a guaranteed moneymaker for the pair of con men.

Once the proper elements are in place, and Max convinces the cowardly Leo that “We Can Do It,” Max assembles his cadre of little blue haired ladies, exchanging cuddles for checks, from his investors who love to give.

Along the way, the two entertain the Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind (Mark Woodard) and his pigeons, the stunning Swedish sweetie Ulla (Liz Clark Golson) and the gaily-festooned director Roger DeBris (William Broderick) and his able assistant Carmen Ghia (Schulyer Beeman).

When their grand scheme turns into an unmitigated disaster, that is when critics and audience members alike embrace this love song to Hitler, Max and Leo have a lot of “esplaining” to do, a la Ricky Ricardo, to the police. The frantic fun escalates under director Julia Kiley’s capable hands.

For tickets ($40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or go to their website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

The old adage that “the show must go on” has been tested thoroughly here, first by R. Bruce Connelly who had an emergency appendectomy last week and rallied to go on opening night, the set designer Tony Andrea who collapsed soon after and was rushed to the hospital and Mark Woodard’s Franz Liebkind who was kicked accidentally and landed in the emergency room. “Break a leg,” the superstitious greeting for good luck, takes on a whole new meaning, especially since Woodard’s character ends up with two broken legs in the show.

Discover how a little creative accounting and a desire for a career in show business can go a long way…directly to jail, without passing GO and collecting $200, yet provide a whole Monopoly game board of entertainment along the way.

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CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE