About two hours before show time, a friend called and asked if I would like to join her in seeing a Summer Stock production of The Producers. Not having anything better to do, I agreed to accompany her. I had seen the stage production of The Producers with the original cast, which included the incomparable, Nathan Lane. It might be fun to compare the performances. I would try not to be prejudiced as Lane is one of my very favorite stage performers.
Actually, the production was quite good. The performers never missed a beat, the dance numbers were exciting and the singers could really sing. The comedy, more slap-stick that the broad way production, was appropriate. Some of the quips actually sounded as though Gene Wilder delivered them. (Yes, I saw both movie versions.) I’d seen many shows in that particular theater during the “season.” Either this summer company was very good or the “season” productions were not so good. Intermission found me smiling to myself on my way to the ladies’ room.
An interesting phenomenon happened during the last act. Earlier, I felt somewhat squeamish when Max and Leo put on Nazi armbands. Nevertheless, I was not prepared for my reaction when the inside stage curtains parted to reveal a large Nazi flag complete with a giant swastika. I stopped smiling, recalling a recent article that I had read. The article stated that since the success of The Producers, some European countries, especially in Eastern Europe, had come up with brand names that included Nazi, Hitler and swastikas. Public outcry caused a few of them to change the brand names. I stopped smiling. This was at least the fourth time that I saw that show. This was the first time that all of the horrors that those words represent came crashing down on me. I do not think that I can watch that show again. I wonder how Mel Brooks deals with it.