Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Original Broadway Cast|
Genres: Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
The Producers was the vehicle that first proclaimed Mel Brooks's decidedly singular comic vision as a film director in 1968. At the time, the world may not have been entirely ready for the depth charges of hilarity he unle... more »
Amazon.com's Best of 2001
The Producers was the vehicle that first proclaimed Mel Brooks's decidedly singular comic vision as a film director in 1968. At the time, the world may not have been entirely ready for the depth charges of hilarity he unleashed; but more than three decades later, it seemed almost foreordained that the film's retooling as a full-fledged musical--directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman--would become the smash hit of the 2000-2001 Broadway season (even before opening at the St. James Theatre in April). Brooks is, of course, no stranger to the Broadway musical genre or to songwriting, but skeptics might find themselves taken by surprise at just how outrageously well all the threads come together for the new show. The film's absurd core vignette--the infamous "Springtime for Hitler"--if anything gains a few notches in hilarity when framed by a character-rich musical that comes off as both parody and valentine in its mimicry of Broadway's "golden age." Brooks (with the help of idiomatically expert arrangements by Glen Kelly) has cooked up a variety of numbers constituting a virtual primer of old-fashioned American musical comedy styles (there's even a toying with Cabaret-style decadence), but they're always coated with an extra layer of zaniness. In fact, the whole show becomes a Chinese box of parodies within parodies. But what really gets the whole mix working is a surefire cast headed by Nathan Lane playing Max Bialystock and Matthew Broderick doing a delightfully nebbish turn with delusions of misplaced glory as his sidekick, Leo Bloom. From his first big number (musically winking at Fiddler on the Roof), Lane hungrily lays claim to the role, undaunted by his formidable predecessor, Zero Mostel. Even on disc, you can visualize his over-the-top mugging as a dethroned "king of Broadway" who was "the first producer ever to do summer stock in the winter." Comedy, as they say, is all about timing, and that's exactly what Lane gets right. His interactions with Bloom, Franz Liebkind (Brad Oscar), and Roger de Bris (Gary Beach) are priceless, even when only in sound. As for the tunes, Brooks crafts a number of truly memorable ones--don't be surprised to find yourself horrified as you hum along with "Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop" and, of course, "Springtime for Hitler." --Thomas May
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Member CD Reviews
Tom K. (ipstom) from LAKEWOOD RCH, FL
Reviewed on 2/23/2010...
This is one of the most enjoyable albums I have swapped!!
Thank you, Mel Brooks, For Your Love Letter to Broadway
Antoinette Klein | Hoover, Alabama USA | 08/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a treat to listen to the soundtrack of Mel Brooks' musical comedy based on his 1968 movie of the same name. I've never seen the movie nor will I, in all likelihood, get to New York to see this on stage. But, sitting in the comfort of my own home and listening to Nathan Lane and Matthew Borderick belt out their angst-driven energy as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom was a fantastic musical treat. The lyrics brim with Mel Brooks' distinctive wit, and though he'll never be confused with Oscar Hammerstein, this brazen and bawdy man knows how to entertain better than almost anyone.When the overture begins and the first strains of "Springtime for Hitler" are heard, you know you are in for an engaging, disarming event. Nathan Lane's mugging, particularly in his "Fiddler on the Roof" takeoff as "The King of Broadway" comes shining through. "West Side Story," "The Pajama Game," "Cabaret," and other Broadway classics are spoofed in beguiling musical parodies.If you don't see the actual production on stage you may miss the sex-starved old ladies dancing desperately with their walkers or the sight gags and the cameo appearance of Stormtrooper Mel Himself, but this CD is worth every penny for its high energy performances captured for everyone to enjoy. And as a special bonus, the gloriously nutty repartee within the songs has been recorded so the listener gets the full flow of the story."
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE TONYS
Mark Andrew Lawrence | Toronto | 06/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While waiting for tickets to THE PRODUCERS - and if you haven't already secured them you could be in for a long wait - you can savor the great moments from the score courtesy of Sony's original cast disc. This is one of the best cast albums to come from Sony since the days of Goddard Lieberson.Produced by Hugh Fordin the CD captures the fun and spirit of the award-laden musical comedy. The booklet includes a detailed synopsis and a libretto, though neither is really necessary. Play the disc and you can easily follow the story. There are welcome bits of dialogue to bridge the songs and Mel Brooks seems quite happy to give away some of the shows best jokes. For more see the color photos in the booklet: A finale shot shows the marquees of some other Bialystock & Bloom musicals: MAIM, SOUTH PASSAIC and HIGH BUTTON JEWS among others.If you are already a fan of Mel Brooks or know the 1967 film which inspired the musical, you have an inkling the tasteless lunacy that runs merrily through the CD's 73 minutes. But there is more. Nathan Lane was impressive with his 1996 revival of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, but here he sinks his teeth into the character of Max Bialystock the self-proclaimed "king of old Broadway." Lane does not posses a huge voice but his manic, over the top delivery enlivens the proceedings from the start. Listen to his late second act madcap recap of the plot to hear comic timing at its absolute best! As his partner in crime, Matthew Broderick again displays a sweet-voiced innocence that masks his cut-throat ways. Broderick played a similar viper in the 1995 revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. Here he is given fewer opportunities to shine but he makes the most of "I Wanna Be a Producer" and the tender "'Til Him."The rest of the cast are given their moments to shine but its Gary Beach who leads the showstopping "Springtime for Hitler" production number. Cady Huffman who impressed critics as Ziegfeld's favorite in THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES is once again cast as a blonde bombshell, this time with a German accent. "When You Got, Flaunt it" she sings ...and indeed she does.Mel Brooks is named as composer of the score, and indeed he created the melodies by humming them into a tape recorder. The transcribing was done by Glen Kelly who remains an unsung hero for this musical. Kelly's transcriptions were orchestrated in traditional brassy Broadway style by Doug Besterman and played with great panache by a somewhat enlarged orchestra crisply conducted by Patrick S. Brady.If Brooks had some assistance with the tunes, the lyrics are all his and there are jokes to spare: Brad Oscar as the title character in SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER declares himself "the German Ethel Merman" employing a Merman-esque twang as he sings the line; A chorus line of little old ladies do a tap dance using their walkers; A wildly inventive choreographer spins visions of "German Soldiers dancing through France played by chorus boys in very tight pants."It is refreshing in an era of political correctness, when classic musical have to have their scores "adjusted" for modern consumption, that Mel Brooks seems so willing to risk offending every segment of the audience. We laugh at every tasteless joke and he laughs all the way to the bank!"