As Hamilton gets ready to sweep the Tony's it's worth looking back at a previous cultural phenomena. The Producers was the right production at the right time and conquered Broadway in the 2001-2002 season. Replacement cast troubles and an unlucky film have tarnished the shows image. I had the good fortune to see the original Broadway cast. Last night I saw a terrific small scale production and learned two important things:
- The material doesn't play itself. Mel Brooks' one joke songs require charm, personality and a healthy dose of shtick.
- The cast must be balanced. Max can carry the show. Roger can steal the show. But they need an honest Leo and Carmen to play off of. I've since learned that Leo can carry the show too. The parts have enough Roxy/Velma equality that "Till Him" can be the emotional climax if "Betrayed" underwhelms.
I think Hamilton will have a longer cultural footprint than The Producers but it's nice to see that the show can still dazzle in the right hands.