‘Keep it gay! Keep it gay! Keep it gay!’

A cast of 19, plus extra help backstage, have come together to put on “The Producers” at Marathon Community Theatre under the talented direction of Fred Hundhammer. It opens next week, on Friday, March 5. Hundhammer kindly invited Weekly Staff for a sneak preview of the show … and it was fabulous!

“I always say that good theatre is 60 percent about good casting and 40 percent hard work,” Hundhammer said. “But in this case, I say its 80 percent good casting and 20 percent hard work. We really have some great talent in the Middle Keys in our all-volunteer theater.”

The play, written by funny man Mel Brooks, is the winner of 12 Tony awards. It’s the story of down-on-his-luck producer Max Bialystock (Devin Clark), his hysterically awkward accountant Leo Bloom (John Schaefer) and their “sure-fire” scheme to get rich quick, with beautiful support from Ulla (Allison Sayer).

There’s plenty of song and dance in this musical comedy.

“Mel Brooks wrote the music. The lyrics are truthful and funny,” Hundhammer said.

The ‘Keep it Gay’ number starring Bryan Foster as Roger DeBris, Allistair McArthur as Carmen Ghia, and Laura Hutt (with a hysterical cameo) is a show-stopper. Dylan Ferrell shines as Franz Liebkind, the writer of the fictious play “Springtime for Hitler.”

And that’s just the first half.

Hundhammmer directed MCT’s “Forever Plaid” and “Me and My Girl” among others. Kara Pascucci — who acted in her first MCT production under his direction — is the producer for “The Producers” and the choreography is by Ann Hart.

Hundhammer moved to the Keys about 16 years ago and has been actively involved with the theater since 2000. He praises the all-volunteer theater and supportive community.

“Our tickets sales only cover about 40 percent of our operating costs. We only have two paid employees — the box office attendant and the maintenance man,” he said, adding that the theater is in the midst of a capital improvement fundraising drive. “I don’t think we’ve raised ticket prices in years, so this is vital to the theater’s future.”

Show times are every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m from Friday, March 5 through April 4 with a matinee performance on Sunday, March 22 at 3 p.m. Buy tickets online at www.marathontheater.org or call the box office at 305-743-0994.

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