Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Tech Theatre to present new Mel Brooks musical, "The Producers," at Rozsa April 9-11

Poster for The Producers courtesy Rozsa Center.

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech University’s Tech Theatre presents The Producers, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 9 - 11, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. If you're a Mel Brooks fan, or just find his movies fun, you'll enjoy Tech Theatre’s musical version of The Producers.

The Producers is a perfect story for the stage, since the premise is a satire of the Broadway culture of the 1950s. The show is appealing on a couple of different levels. Many audience members will enjoy the way Mel Brooks pokes fun at the Golden Era of the Broadway musical, with many references to popular musicals like Fiddler on the Roof or The Ziegfeld Follies, as well as the stars that made these shows great, such as Zero Mostel and Ethel Merman. While the play is set in the 1950s, some of the jokes reference The Sound of Music and A Chorus Line.

The music is much more sophisticated than a Mel Brooks title might suggest. True to Brooks' style, the sophistication is paired with base characterizations of Broadway stereotypes and situations. In Brooks' story, the Broadway producer (Max Bialystock) leads a glamorous life in the public eye, but is actually a lecherous, greedy, and crass man. A picture emerges of "good" and "bad" characters, with the arrival of Leo Bloom, a naive and nerdy accountant and Broadway producer wanna be. Add the bombshell actress, Ulla, and the crazed Nazi playwright, Franz Liebkin, and we have a set of unlikely characters to embark on a Broadway show. 

In Mel Brooks fashion, no topic is safe from ridicule. He is a master of comedy, poking fun at every human frailty including, greed, lechery, pretentiousness, self-righteousness and false authority. Some may find Brooks' humor vulgar. The campfire/bean scene from Blazing Saddles comes to mind as an example of the type of humor most of us find crass, but undeniably funny. Brooks boldly satirizes normally taboo topics including religion, race, and sexual preference. He seems to have no fear of being offensive. The treatment of situations is done with such a lightness of touch that most viewers accept the gross exaggerations as necessary in arriving at a certain social justice. 

There is a happy ending. Those who misbehave are punished. Those who are inherently good are rewarded. Everyone is redeemed.

While the show may not be appropriate for young children (mature language and situations), audiences are in for a treat. Prepare yourselves for a hilarious chorus of tap-dancing old ladies, an unthinkable revue of dancing Nazi storm troopers, and the show-stopping musical number, "Keep It Gay"!

Tickets are $19 for adults, $6 for youth (17 and under), and free for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To purchase tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online at rozsa.mtu.edu, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday and noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times.  

For more details, please contact Patricia Helsel, 906-487-3283 or helsel@mtu.edu.

No comments: