Audience shouts ‘L’Chayim’ for legendary musical/comedy

With all the tap-dancing, Hebrew humor, sashaying, and tit jokes taking place on the stage of the Marathon Community Theater it is easy to see why “The Producers” is the hottest ticket in town – and why audiences are struggling to pinpoint the show’s scene stealer.

Penned by legendary funnyman Mel Brooks (“Blazing Saddles,” “Spaceballs”) and directed by Fred Hundhammer, the musical has a washed-up producer and his accountant attempting to create the greatest Broadway flop in order to achieve financial glory.

They secure the rights to an obscure play, “Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden” and then hire the most flamboyant director and production crew to ensure the production’s run is as short as Hitler’s moustache.

Leading the cast are veteran community theater actors Devin Clarke and John Schaefer who portray the Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom.

Clarke captures the essence of the Brooks’ protagonist in truest satirical fashion. Despairingly courting his geriatric “investors” for the capital to produce “Springtime for Hitler.”

“That’s exactly why we want to produce this play,” he says. “To show the world the true Hitler, the Hitler you loved, the Hitler you knew, the Hitler with a song in his heart.”

His cohort is the self-effacing accountant Leo Bloom – portrayed by John Schaeffer, whose versatility as a thespian allows him to capture virginal coyness of the role made famous by first Gene Wilder and then by Matthew Broderick.

Rounding out the leads are Allison Sayer, Bryan Foster, Alastair McArthur and Dylan Ferrell playing the dumb-witted sex object, flamboyant director and his “common-law assistant” and a pigeon-loving playwright sympathetic to the Nazi Party.

“Hitler… there was a painter!” Exclaims Ferrell as Franz Liebkind. “He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!”

Directing the “love letter to Hitler” is Roger De Bris (Foster) and his doting assistant Carmen Ghia (McArthur). At first the couple is reluctant to direct the serious subject matter, but then realize they can “Keep it Gay” by using a production staff reminiscent of the Village People to help design, choreograph, and costume the production.

The role of the over-sexed Swedish bombshell Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson went to Allison Sayer.

“Well, Ulla wake up every morning at five AM. From five to seven, Ulla exercise. From seven to eight Ulla take long shower. From eight to nine Ulla eat big Swedish breakfast. (Many different herrings.) From nine to eleven, Ulla practice her singing und her dancing. And at eleven, Ulla like to have sex. So, what time should Ulla get here?”

To which Bailystock and Bloom reply, “Eleven.”

The production concludes this weekend. For tickets call 305-743-0994.


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