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The Producers ~ A New Mel Brooks Musical ~ The Little Theatre of Alexandria

Jordan Wright
July 28, 2019
Special to The Alexandria Times

The ProducersThe Little Theatre of Alexandria didn’t seem so little last night with its super-sized production of The Producers, the Mel Brooks/Thomas Meehan musical comedy.  The tremendous cast is led by four stellar comic actors – Steve Cairns in the role of the flamboyant producer Max Bialystock, newcomer and up-and-comer Ryan Phillips as the hapless co-producer Leo Bloom, Sirena Dib as the Ulla, the adorable Swedish cream puff, and WATCH Award-winning actor Brian Lyons-Burke as the drag queen Broadway director, Roger DeBris.

Max (Steve Cairns), Ulla (Sirena Dib), Leo (Ryan Phillips) ~ Photographer: Matthew Randall

Famed Broadway producer Max is down on his luck and his dough, when Leo, an accountant comes to his office to do his books.  Leo tells Max he’d make more money if he produced a flop, so Max hatches a plan to tap his coterie of little-old-lady backers for a coupla mil and abscond to Rio with Leo and the cash.

Leo (Ryan Phillips), Max (Steve Cairns) ~ Photographer: Matthew Randall

The pair set about to find the worst director, Roger DeBris, the worst actors, and the worst playwright discovering Franz Liebkind, a Bavarian loony and pigeon fanatic who has written a dreadful play called “Springtime for Hitler”, that features the Nazi SS and their minions.

Thinking it will be their ticket to salvation they assemble the worst crew in showbiz to execute their convoluted plan.  But when the reviews come in calling it “a satirical masterpiece”, they can hardly believe it.  The musical is a hit.  In the tune “Where Did We Go Wrong?” sung by Max and Leo, they bemoan their fate.  When Max gets arrested for scamming his backers, lovebirds, Leo and Ulla, hightail it to Rio with all the dough.  Of course, that’s not the half of the hijinks nor of the big numbers backed by an exceptional 22-piece orchestra.

Ulla (Sirena Dib), Leo (Ryan Phillips), Judge (Brandon Steele), Ensemble (Courtney Caliendo), Max (Steve Cairns) and Ensemble ~ Photographer: Matthew Randall

The big budget production features sixteen amazing costume changes that go from glitz-and-glam to lederhosen-and-dirndls.  Throw in a stage-ful of Nazi uniforms, sequined prison stripes and over-the-top drag courtesy of Roger’s assistant, Sabu (Brandon Steele).  The 15-member ensemble of hoofers and songsters belts and taps to nineteen numbers that had the audience roaring with approval on opening night.  Even the props were funny, including a rooftop scene with a cage filled with nodding pigeons.

Highly recommended.  Kudos to all for a terrific night of hilarity, crazy wild theatrics and a standing ovation.

Produced by David Correia and Mary Beth Smith-Toomey, directed by Kristina Friedgin with original direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, Set Design by Dan Remmers, Lighting Design by Ken and Patti Crowley, Costumes by Jean Schlicting and Kit Sibley, Choreographer by Stefan SittigProperty Design by Kirstin Apker, with Colin Taylor conducting.

Through August 17that The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street. For tickets and information call the box office at 703 683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheatre.com

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