Published on October 1st, 2013 | by Zamná Ávila

Norris Center: An Intimate Setting with The Producers

By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer 

There are at least two reasons you need to see The Producers, the Broadway adaptation of Mel Brooks’ legendary film.

The first is sheer delight.

The Producers at the Norris Center for the Performing Arts is not quite so big as its Broadway brother. A few of the special effects (but just a very few) are lost on the smaller stage. What little is lost in spectacle (including a Busby-Berkeley effect in one dance number) is more than made up for with the very intimacy of the performance. Everything is up close and very personal, from the very lovely show-girls in the chorus to love in Leo Bloom.

If you don’t know the story you’ll be the only one. Max Bialystock is a famous Broadway producer on his umpteenth flop. Leo Bloom is his accountant and comes up with a scheme: Sell 200 percent of a sure to fail show and retire on the proceeds. Problem is, the show they decide to go wrong with is Springtime for Hitler and instead of being a notorious failure is a smash success.

Brooks expanded his film for Broadway, wrote a dozen new songs and saves his big number, Springtime for Hitler, for the second act. It’s a long show (about two-and-one-half hours). It never flags, filled with energy and with remarkable performances from the stars.

The second reason you need to see The Producers is a simple one: If patrons of musical theater don’t stand up for the art form this month, this week, it could soon be just a fond memory.

In the past few years musicals have become an endangered species. Long Beach used to have two flourishing companies producing musicals, Musical Theatre West and the Long Beach Civic Light Opera. Now only Musical Theatre West remains. The company that competed with Musical Theatre West in the mid-2000s has also retreated to its Missouri home. Los Angeles Civic Light Opera has been dead for 20 years or so. Long Beach Civic Light Opera is just a distant memory. Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities was going to move to San Pedro two years ago, but has folded its tent for financial reasons. Now, Downey Civic Light Opera, after 58 years in production, has been forced out of its home by a new management company and is closing. Only Musical Theatre West and 3-D Theatricals in Fullerton are left standing.

The NorrisCenter is still in the game. The Producers is a first-rate professional production, using backdrops and props from the national tour of the Broadway show, which won more Tony awards —12 — than any show before or since. It features 22 cast members, some doubling in as many as 14 roles, with the 22-song score played by a 15-piece pit orchestra.

And, the cast couldn’t be much better. Nick Santa Maria is Max, and if he isn’t quite Nathan Lane, the Broadway original, he lets you know in an aside and you’ll probably be wondering what Lane could do that Santa Maria couldn’t. His Max knows he is a failure, but he keeps hoping, keeps collecting checks from the Little Old Ladies he seduces. And he befriends Leo Bloom (Marc Ginsburg), who has the original idea for their scam and grows from a schlemiel without a first name (even in kindergarten he was always called “Bloom”) to a sophisticated producer.

Of course, part of that is caused by Ulla (Elaine Hayhurst), who in the stage version is much more than just a body. She falls in love with Leo and proves to be more than just a Swedish flirt. James W. Gruessing is Franz Liebkind, the loveable neo-Nazi whose plays is chosen to flop. He does a great job being obviously offensive. Ken Prescott is over-the-top as Roger DeBris, who is not only the show’s very gay director but its last-minute star. Jon W. Walsh is a delight as Carmen Ghia, his assistant and lover.

The rest of the cast is wonderful and incredibly energetic, from the dancers, male and female (the show uses the original choreography and direction of the show by Susan Stroman, under director Matthew J. Vargo) to the theatrical personnel. And, if you go, stay after the show to hear the orchestra, directed by Daniel Thomas.

In January, the Norris is offering The 39 Steps and in April The Drowsy Chaperone. Both are certain to be great productions.

Tickets are $45. Performances are at 8 p.m. Oct. 4 and 5 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 6.

Details(310) 544-0403www.norristheatre.org
Venue: NorrisCenter for the Performing Arts
Location: 27570 Norris Center Drive, Rolling Hills Estates

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author



Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Like Us On Facebook!

  • The Guide to Fine Dining

    The Guide to Fine Dining
  • Calendar

    April 2015
    S M T W T F S
    29

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityComplete Whale Watch with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

    Category: EntertainmentJanis Mann & Bill Cunliffe Duo

    Category: ArtSecond Sight: New Representations in Photography

    Category: TheaterMarilyn Forever - A Full-Length Opera

    30

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    31

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    1

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    2

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    3

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: EntertainmentSister Spit National Tour

    Category: CommunitySister Spit National Tour

    Category: EntertainmentRequiem at Rolling Hills

    Category: EntertainmentSomething Funny at the Warner Grand

    4

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityBreakfast with the Easter Bunny

    Category: TheaterThe Crucifixion

    Category: EntertainmentBobby West at the Seabird Lounge

    Category: EntertainmentEwan Dobson and Guest

    Category: EntertainmentAmerican Monster Burlesque and Blues Show

    5

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    6

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    7

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    8

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterDon’t be Afraid to Pogo

    9

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterFilm Festival: ‘The Red Pony’

    Category: EntertainmentMarian Marie at the Seabird Lounge

    10

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterFilm Festival Opening Night Screenings

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: EntertainmentHaden Triplets at the Annex

    Category: EntertainmentJulian Coryell Trio

    Category: EntertainmentRichard Turner Group at the Seabird Lounge

    11

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtMexican Mobile Consulate

    Category: ArtElks Lodge Groundbreaking

    Category: TheaterHollywood Nostalgia Tribute

    Category: EntertainmentLuca comes to the Annex

    Category: EntertainmentAzar Lawrence Featuring George Kahn

    Category: EntertainmentWhich One’s Pink

    12

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterLAHIFF Presents DocSunday

    Category: EntertainmentSecond Sundays at Two

    Category: TheaterThe Suburban Showgirl

    Category: EntertainmentTradicíon at the Seabird Lounge

    Category: EntertainmentTribute to the Black Crowes

    13

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    14

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    15

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityThe Quixote Festival

    Category: CommunityBirding with Wild Birds

    Category: CommunityEarl Ofari Hutchinson Gives Talk at CSUDH

    16

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityThe Quixote Festival

    17

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityLong Beach Grand Prix

    Category: CommunityLong Beach Grand Prix

    Category: ArtRolling Hills Homes Tour

    Category: CommunityThe Quixote Festival

    Category: CommunityRolling Hills Homes Tour

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: Theater‘Get On Up,’ the James Brown Story

    Category: EntertainmentJacob Szekely Trio

    Category: EntertainmentDavid Jackson at the Seabird Lounge

    Category: EntertainmentThe Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

    18

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtRolling Hills Homes Tour

    Category: CommunityLong Beach Grand Prix

    Category: CommunityRolling Hills Homes Tour

    Category: ArtCelebrity Lecture Series

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: CommunityLA Local Beer and Food Fest

    Category: EntertainmentSuperhero Soundtracks

    Category: EntertainmentThom Rotella 4tet

    19

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityAuthors Day with Lisa See

    Category: TheaterIn My Life: Tribute to the Beatles

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: TheaterThe Suburban Showgirl

    Category: EntertainmentNova Live at the Seabird Lounge

    Category: EntertainmentA Wailing of a Town

    Category: EntertainmentDavid Garfield Quintet

    Category: EntertainmentA Wailing of a Town

    20

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityWelcome to Night Vale

    21

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    22

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    23

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityGrand Grunion Gala

    Category: EntertainmentAndy Waddell

    24

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityTechnology Conference

    Category: ArtFarmer’s Market

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: EntertainmentBrian Auger’s Oblivion Express

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: EntertainmentSouth Side Slim Blues

    25

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityEarth Day Celebration

    Category: CommunityNature Walk

    Category: CommunityGreen Prize Festival

    Category: CommunityHandmade in South Bay's 2nd Annual Spring Boutique

    Category: CommunityRestoration Highlights Workshop

    Category: ArtHousing Development Opening

    Category: ArtRay Carofano: riverrun

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: EntertainmentNoise Fest 19

    Category: EntertainmentSpock’s Beard

    Category: EntertainmentThe Gears, The Crowd

    Category: EntertainmentAzar Lawrence at the Seabird Lounge

    26

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: CommunityWalk Cabrillo

    Category: ArtOpen Studios at Angels Gate

    Category: ArtQuilt Show

    Category: CommunityQuilt Show

    Category: ArtLos Angeles Artists Propose Solutions to Human Trafficking Through Art

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: EntertainmentSuburban Showgirl

    Category: ArtLA Philharmonic

    Category: EntertainmentLos Angeles Philharmonic

    Category: CommunityAbilities Night

    Category: EntertainmentOil Boom, Sir Madam, the South Hollows

    27

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    28

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    29

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    30

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: ArtPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: TheaterPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    1

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: ArtBach’s Lunchtime Recital

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    2

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: CommunityFeria de Dominguez Adobe Brunch and Tea

    Category: CommunityFriend Fest

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

  • Take a Trip to Havana

    Take a Trip to Havana
  • Join the RLn Network

    Subscribe Today:


    Options


  • Get Home Delivery!

    Get Home Delivery!
  • Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy

    Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy