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Don’t Miss the Las Vegas Production of “The Producers,” Starring David Hasselhoff - Producers and Nazis and Gays…Oh My!

David Hasselhoff and cast

by Robin Roth

This crazy, silly, over-the-top, wacky, zany and hysterically funny smash Broadway hit, “The Producers,” could not have found a better fit or home than Viva Las Vegas, in the beautiful Paris Hotel and Casino! With the show’s grand opening on February 9th, in their gorgeous comfortable theater, this over 90-minute version of the Mel Brooks-Thomas Meehan musical comedy show, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, has winner marked all over it! WHAT A CROWD PLEASER!


“The Producers” opened on Broadway on April 19, 2001 to rave reviews and is the recipient of 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical, which is the most Tony Awards to be won in Broadway history.


Now, without giving too much of the story away, “The Producers” tells the tale of the down-on-his-luck, scheming, crooked, opportunist (but ironically likeable) theatrical producer, Max Bialystock (played brilliantly by Brad Oscar, who preciously played this role on Broadway and London), and the rather insecure, mousy, accountant Leo Bloom (perfectly played by Larry Raben, who also performed this role on Broadway, along with the role of Carmen Ghia). Tired of the same-ole-same-ole and lust for money and power, they come up with a ridiculous brain storm of a scheme to raise more money then they need to present the worlds worst eye-poppy, insulting, lavish theatrical fiasco. They would also hire the world’s worst director for their show. When the play flops, as planned, they will pocket the money even before the curtain falls. Max and Leo found this musical bomb in the production of “Springtime for Hitler.” Against all odds, and as luck WOULDN’T have it, the show becomes a smash success, leaving the dynamic-duo in great trouble. Okay, so if you haven’t seen the show or the film and the plot sounds crazy and ridiculous, well it is! THAT IS WHY THE SHOW IS SO DARN ENTERTAININING!


I must admit, I was scared to death, crossing my fingers, and holding my breath concerning television superstar David Hasselhoff playing the role of the flamboyant director, Roger DeBris. I mean seriously, we are talking about the HUNKY AND MASCULINE “Baywatch” and “Knight Rider” guy here! This was, to say the least, a bold career choice! As it turns out, I am SO TOTALLY happy to tell you that not only is David incredible and dazzling in this role, but HE NAILS IT!!! He takes a completely unbelievable character and makes it believable! I am a tad concerned, however, that he actually looks better in a gown then I do! VERY DISTURBING! To see this stunningly good looking specimen of a man come out (literally) playing this ultra feminine, campy, yet loveable character was nothing short of hysterical. David’s comedic sense and timing is stellar. His natural and professional command of the stage was obvious and wonderful to watch. He owned this character. The audience just loves him as Roger, earning him several major standing ovations at the end of the show, along with the rest of the cast members. BRAVO DAVID! (David is listed in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the Most Watched TV Star in the world. Hasselhoff's theatrical career began with his sold-out Broadway debut in “Jekyll and Hyde.” That was followed by his celebrated performances as Billy Flynn in the Kander and Ebb smash “Chicago, The Musical.”)


The almost IMPOSSIBLE task of following Nathan Lane’s incomparable portrayal of Max is perfectly executed by Brad Oscar. He is actually able to fill Nathan’s TALL shoes and made it possible for you to forget about the visual of Nathan’s Max. Kudos to you, Brad! It is quite evident that Brad is having a total blast playing this role.


The same goes for Larry Raben in Matthew Broderick’s role of Leo. His sense of the character is uncanny. He plays Leo in a rather subtle, underplayed style which is reflected in his body language, right down to his eyes. His unique talents are able to shine in this role, from his sense of comedy, versatile acting ability and his wonderful polished singing voice.


Leigh Zimmerman’s performance in the role of the sexy, SVEEDISH bombshell was also a standout. She keeps in character the entire time and is also wonderful to look at. Furthermore, I just loved Rich Affannato’s hysterically funny and dead-on performance as Carmen Ghia, Roger’s assistant. He almost managed to steal the show. I could have watched him longer! HE CRACKED ME UP! YOU GO, RICH!                                                                                       Fred Applegate’s performance as Franz Liebkind lit up the stage whenever he was present. He milked this role to the top. EXCELLENT! He really GETS this character! I must say, the entire cast was phenomenally strong and cast quite accurately! Watch carefully as most of the cast members have more than one role.


Just in case you are wondering… YES, you will see gorgeous showgirls descending a staircase in skimpy costumes, but you will also see costumes representing beer steins, knackwurst and the Third Reich! So funny!


Among some of the musical highlights are the songs “We Can Do It,” “I Wanna be a Producer,” “Keep it Gay” (my favorite), “When You Got It, Flaunt It,” “Springtime for Hitler” (another one of my favorites) and “Prisoners of Love.” Just a little warning to the die-hard “Producer” fans, in order to fit into the amount of time allotted for this show, about seven songs have disappeared from the original show. I too am a bit disappointed, but it still has enough in tact to make you leave the theater happy, satisfied, and amused!


Every facet of this production of The Producers is musical comedy perfection. Everything, from the outstanding orchestra to the extravagant sets and wardrobe and lighting, staging and directing, spells SMASH-O-LA!


“When ‘The Producers’ opened on Broadway, they performed to sold-out audiences in New York,” said Michael Weaver, vice-president of marketing for Paris Las Vegas. “We are thrilled the Las Vegas production is following the same pattern.” So theater-goers, I suggest that you book WAY in advance!!! You will not want to be shut out of “The Producers.” Not only should you run to see this irresistible, fabulously gay musical, you should make it one of your Vegas trip highlights. You will laugh till you cry (be careful ladies you might just develop an extra wrinkle from laughing here)! It is a riot and you will have a total ball being a part of it. I wish the show great success and a very long run! A big YEAAA to the Las Vegas production of “The Producers.”

“The Producers” starts at 8pm. Prices range from $75.50 - $143.50. For reservations, call 888-727-4758 or the Paris box office at 877-374-7469.
For group sales, call 800-828-3830.

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