Tony Tuesday: THE PRODUCERS | West End Best Friend
At West End Best Friend, we’ve had the pleasure of diving into many of Broadway’s biggest musicals as part of our Tony Tuesday segment, so it’s time we took a look at the musical with the most Tony Award wins. No it is not Hamilton (Broadway’s most nominated show) but Mel Brooks’ production of The producers.
34 years after the release of Brooks’ film of the same name, a musical stage adaptation has opened on Broadway. The film and the musical follow the same story: Broadway theater producer Max Bialystock and aspiring accountant and theater producer Leo Bloom conspire together to create the worst musical ever written and pocket the cash investments when the show fails. They hire the worst creative team, the worst actors and fill their show with offensive content, naming it Spring for Hitler. Much to their dismay, their show is a certified hit.
With satirical characterizations of Nazis, accents and gay people, the film initially received mixed reviews but developed a cult following and Brooks was convinced by producer and DreamWorks founder David Geffen to create a musical. of the show which opened in 2001. Brooks wrote the musical and lyrics for the show and was joined by Thomas Meehan to write the book. Susan Stroman directed and choreographed roles she was originally to share with her husband Mike Ockrent, until he sadly passed away in 1999.
Despite the mixed reception from the public for the film, the musical, like Spring for Hitler, was critically acclaimed. At the 2001 Tony Awards, it became one of the few musicals to win awards in each of its nominated categories. The producers received 15 nominations, with multiple nominations for Lead Actor and Featured Actor, and won 12 awards. He held the title of most nominations, until Billy Elliot the Musical correspond to these and hamilton outmoded. However, the show still reigns supreme as having the most Tony Award wins for any show to date, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Orchestrations and many more.
Along with his success at the Tony Awards, The producers won 11 Drama Desk Awards out of its 14 nominations, in almost entirely the same categories. The show also earned Mel Brooks rare and prestigious EGOT status, thanks to his numerous Tony Award wins in 2001.
Among the original cast were Nathan Lane (Max Bialystock), Matthew Broderick (Leo Bloom), Cady Huffman (Ulla), Gary Beach (Roger De Bris), Roger Bart (Carmen Ghia) and Brad Oscar (Franz Liebkind). Lane, Broderick, Beach and Bart reprized their roles for the 2005 film adaptation of the musical, joined by Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell. Nathan Lane also joined the cast of the West End production of the show, which opened at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane, in 2004. The producers in London was met with a similarly positive reaction in New York, winning three Olivier Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Nathan Lane) and Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Conleth Hill).
Besides Broadway, the cinema and the West End, The producers has been seen touring the US and UK, as well as cities in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, Sweden, Czech Republic, France and Norway, to name a few.
Will any show in the future garner as much Tony Award success? It seems highly unlikely, but the prospect of individuals around the world now writing and creating something that could is very exciting for musical theater fans everywhere!
Music and lyrics: Mel Brooks
Book: Mel Brooks
Original Broadway Theatre: St. James Theater
Original production run: April 19, 2001 – April 22, 2007
WON: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Actor in a Musical – Nathan Lane, Best Featured Actor in a Musical – Gary Beach, Best Featured Actress in a Musical – Cady Huffman, Best Direction of a Musical – Susan Stroman, Best Choreography – Susan Stroman, Best Orchestrations – Doug Besterman, Best Scenic Design – Robin Wagner, Best Costume Design – William Ivey Long, Best Lighting Design – Peter Kaczorowski
NOMINATED: Best Actor in a Musical – Matthew Broderick, Best Featured Actor in a Musical – Roger Bart, Best Featured Actor in a Musical – Brad Oscar
Original Broadway Performance at the Tony Awards: