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THE PRODUCERS presented by Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre through June 21. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Sunday performance.
Cincinnati Landmark Productions welcomes patrons to their new and beautiful venue, the Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre, with a solid production of the musical comedy, THE PRODUCERS.
Mike Sherman is smartly cast as the morally-questionable Max Bialystock. He handles the songs well and has good comic timing. Spencer Smith looks great for the role of unsatisfied accountant Leo Bloom and is vocally strong. Performance-wise, I didn’t have a good sense of what Leo was feeling (besides panicked). Even when dancing with his girl, the smile on his face was fleeting at best. Recent high school graduate Kalie Kaimann is a solid triple-threat as the beautiful and English-challenged Ulla. Christopher Wyllie is solid and very funny as discovered playwright Franz Liebkind. His character and German accent was solid throughout, although it did seem to disappear in the “opening night” scene. As Carmen Ghia, the “common law-assistant” to the “worst director in New York,” Gregory Bossler finds great balance in the campy, effeminate role. Ptich perfect is Tom Highley as the aforementioned director and closeted homosexual, Roger DeBris. The 17-person ensemble is solid and handle the vocals and choreography well.
Speaking of choreography, overall the staging by Maggie Perrino worked well. Favorite numbers included “The King of Old Broadway” and “I Want to be a Producer.” I also enjoyed “Springtime for Hitler” but Hitler’s entrance was blocked by the ensemble standing too far downstage. I also had a sight line issue during “The King of Old Broadway.” When the actress sat on Max’s left knee, she blocked the view of his face for those of us audience right. And all we could see of her, was the back of her head. Moving her to Max’s other knee would have allowed everyone to see both their faces. Just something to keep in mind for future productions. #newvenueproblems 🙂
Costumer Caren Young does great work in tackling this behemoth of a show. Favorite costumes include the “C building” dress, the German showgirl costumes and Ulla’s frock upon her return from Rio.
One ongoing distraction, for me, was that the two male leads, (and to a lesser extent Ulla,) had a habit of upstaging themselves. Standing in profile to the audience with feet together, line delivery with their backs to the audience, reading onstage with their faces hidden behind what they were “reading,” and punchline delivery to the wings or other actors instead of out, are a few examples. Just remember that the audience is well, your audience.
Overall a fun and entertaining way to christen the city’s newest theater. I’m excited to see what they have in store for future audiences as they mature into their space.
If you want to check out the new theater this summer, you best bet may be their third and final production of their Summer Classic Series, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL. The full run of THE PRODUCERS sold out almost before the show opened. Ticket sales for their next production, 1776, are very strong with several shows already sold out and several with limited availability. You can visit their site here.
My rating: 4.0 out of 5
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