Say gay, cancel culture, let woke sleep

Here’s my review of “The Producers,” at Gainesville Community Playhouse through April 10.

Gainesville Community Playhouse’s “The Producers” goes where no chorus line has gone before.

Roger and Carmen didn’t get the Governor’s “Don’t say gay” memo.

The dancing stormtroopers ceded not an inch to cancel culture.

And the singing Hitlers dared wokeness to bring it on.

Listen, you only have until April 10 to see Gainesville Community Theater’s revival of “The Producers.” (Less time than that if the Political Correctness Cops show at the next performance.)

And, seriously, you don’t want to miss Mel Brook’s most unserious musical laughfest.

Why?

Oh, I could give you lots of reasons.

The Chrysler Building. Creepy pigeons. A chorus line of blue-haired, lascivious ladies strutting their stuff on walkers.

And more lederhosen than an Octoberfest in Milwaukee.

Lederhosen on parade.

But here’s the single best reason.

Esteban Alvarez III.

It’s not just that he is easily the most reliable and versatile of all GCP regulars. Alvarez knows his Max Bialystock – the washed-up producer turned fraudster who is at the center of the action – having already played him ten years ago on this very stage.

But this Max is a very different flim-flam artist.

Suffice it to say that Alvarez still acts, but no longer looks, like Zero Mostel, the heavyweight thespian who brought Max to life in the original 1967 movie. This is a dramatically slimmed-down version. And having shed so many pounds in real life, Alvarez endows Max 2.0 with a ferocious energy and intensity.

Which brings me to poor Leo Bloom.

Leo declines to be content in Max’s shadow.

Nikolus Turner may be obliged to share the stage with Alvarez, but he’s not content to stay in the star’s shadow.

In the person of milquetoast accountant turned co-conspirator Leo, Turner practically reeks of the “revolting stench” of low self-esteem. “When you got it, flaunt it,” his new Swedish meatball Ulla (a very tasty Brie Weller) counsels, and Turner takes her advice to extremes. Their behind-the-couch sex scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Ulla gives Leo flaunting lessons.

(Note: This is the part of the review where I like to throw in some negatives so readers won’t think I’ve gone soft. I got nothin’.)

Will Winter is over the top as Roger, The Big Apple’s campiest director. But Jacob Broskey, very nearly out-camps him as simpering assistant Carmen Ghia. And Justin Clement breaks not just one leg but two as Franz, the embittered playwright who commits the atrocity called “Springtime For Hitler” to paper.

Kudos to director Erin Moore for assembling and molding this lead cast and its remarkable ensemble. Much credit to choreographer Hannah Stahmer, for making sure that no prats would fall during the dance numbers. And not to forget the yeoman’s work done by ACT’s costume and set designers.

Oh, and those usherettes! Now that’s show business.

Ticket prices and showtimes can be found at GCP’s web site.

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