The Producers

Critics

LemonMeter

88 %

Reviews: 13

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Fri Aug 23, 8:00pm
Sat Aug 24, 8:00pm
Sun Aug 25, 2:00pm
Mon Aug 26, 8:00pm

CELEBRATION
Presents the Second Show in its 2019 Season!
The Los Angeles Intimate Theatre Premiere of
THE PRODUCERS
A NEW MEL BROOKS MUSICAL
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Choreography by Janet Roston
Musical Direction by Anthony Zediker
Directed by Michael Matthews

“IT'S OPENING NIGHT” - FRIDAY, JUNE 28
AT THE LEX THEATRE IN HOLLYWOOD!

“I'll tell ya when we're getting in too deep…”

Celebration, under the artistic direction of Michael A. Shepperd, presents the second show in its 2019 season, the Los Angeles intimate theatre premiere of THE PRODUCERS, A New Mel Brooks Musical, book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, choreography by Janet Roston, musical direction by Anthony Zediker, produced by Andrew Carlberg and Rebecca Eisenberg and directed by Michael Matthews. THE PRODUCERS will begin previews on Friday, June 21 at 8pm; will open on Friday, June 28 at 8pm, with tickets on sale through Monday, August 26 at Celebration Theatre @ the Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave. in Los Angeles.

Director Michael Matthews brings Celebration his take on THE PRODUCERS! When a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history, things go awry when the show is a hit. THE PRODUCERS skewers Broadway traditions and takes no prisoners as it proudly proclaims itself an "equal opportunity offender!”

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST

MICHAEL MATTHEWS (Director) Selected Credits: Good People (CV REP), Cabaret (Ovation Nom, Director), End of the Rainbow (Laguna Playhouse, La Mirada),12 Angry Men, The Graduate (w/ Melanie Griffith), Bootycandy (LA Premiere), Failure, a Love Story (Ovation Award, Director; LA Premiere), Sons of the Prophet (LA Premiere), Psyche (World Premiere), Peter Pan; the Boy Who Hated Mothers (LA Weekly Nom, Director), Rabbit Hole (La Mirada), Funny Girl (Ovation Nom, Director), Very Still and Hard To See (LA Weekly Nom, Director; World Premiere), The Color Purple, The Musical (Ovation and LA Weekly Awards, Director), What's Wrong With Angry? (Ovation Nom, Director), Take Me Out! (Ovation Nom, Director; NAACP Award, Director) The Women of Brewster Place, the Musical (Ovation Nom, Director; NAACP Award, Director), The Bacchae (Ovation Nom, Director), Beautiful Thing (Ovation Nom, Director). Michael is the recipient of the 2015 LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Career Achievement in Direction.

JANET ROSTON (Choreographer) Credits include: Cabaret at Celebration Theater, LADCC Award; The Boy From Oz at Celebration Theater, Ovation and LADCC Awards; The Color Purple at Celebration Theater, Ovation, NAACP, and LA Weekly Awards; Mutt House at Kirk Douglas Theatre; Once On This Island at International City Theater, NAACP Award; The Who's Tommy at East West Players; Failure a Love Story at Kirk Douglas Theatre. As Director/Choreographer: Tonya and Nancy, The Rock Opera at ART Boston; Anaïs, A Dance Opera at Avignon Festival and Casablanca International Theatre Festival, Morocco; Striking 12 at Laguna Playhouse; Moves After Dark at Disney Hall. Two American Choreography Awards.

ANTHONY ZEDIKER (Musical Director) native of Nashville, is a composer/song writer/arranger/ pianist/music director/vocal coach based out of Los Angeles and Chicago. He is currently on faculty at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy LA, the American Contemporary Ballet, Colburn School, and USC's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Recent project highlights include- Musical Director of Cabaret @ The Celebration Theatre (LADCC award for Musical Direction), hand double on Showtime's Kidding for Jim Carrey (2018), pianist/actor on HBO's Big Little Lies (season 1, 3 episodes), Orchestra pianist for NBC's Rob Cantor: Shia LaBeouf Live (2017), Musical Director of Urinetown, and The Wizard of Oz @ The Westridge School for Girls (2018-19), cover pianist Priscilla (2018 @the Celebration Theater), Spamilton (@the Kirk Douglas Theater), and In Trump We Trust (@the Second City LA), Music Director of numerous productions @ AMDA including musicals, staged readings, and blackbox concerts, pit keyboardist for The Color Purple @ The Greenway Court Theater (2018) and Beauty and the Beast @ The Orpheum Theater (2017), orchestrator/MD for Celebration Theatre's 30 minute musicals (2019), orchestrator on CMT's Nashville season 5 (1 episode), composer of original music for Homeward L.A and Our Town @ The Actor's Co-op (2017 & 19) Directed by Richard Israel, composer of the iPhone videogame Hammertime (2009), and feature films Let it Bleed (2015), Better Criminal (2016), and Our Way (2016)(*audience choice award), each of which was featured in the 2017 Burbank International Film Festival.

The Cast of THE PRODUCERS will feature: Richardson Jones as “Max Bialystock,” Chris Jewell Valentin as “Leo Bloom,” Michael A. Shepperd as “Roger De Bris,” Andrew Diego as “Carmen Ghia,” MaryAnn Welshans as “Ulla,” and John Colella as “Franz Liebkind.”
The Ensemble will feature (in alphabetical order): Brittany Bentley, Evan Borboa, Jasmine Ejan, Sarah Mullis, Tristan McIntyre, Angeline Mirenda and Jamie Pierce.

THE PRODUCERS has assembled an award-winning design team; Scenic Design by Stephen Gifford (Cabaret, Carrie: The Musical downtown LA and La Mirada), Lighting Design by Matthew Brian Denman (Cabaret, Failure: A Love Story at the Kirk Douglas), Costume Design by E.B. Brooks, Sound Design by Cricket S. Myers, Properties Design by Michael O'Hara (Failure: A Love Story), Wig/Hair/Make-Up Design is by Byron Batista. The Dialect Coach is Tuffet Schmelzle. The Casting Director is Jami Rudofsky. Estey DeMerchant is the Production Stage Manager.

THE PRODUCERS is produced by Andrew Carlberg and Rebecca Eisenberg.

This production is presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood's Arts Division.

Calendar Listing:
THE PRODUCERS
A NEW MEL BROOKS MUSICAL
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Choreography by Janet Roston
Musical Direction by Anthony Zediker
Directed by Michael Matthews

OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 28 THROUGH MONDAY, AUGUST 12

PREVIEWS: Friday, June 21 & Saturday, June 22 at 8pm; Sunday, June 23 at 2pm; Weds. June 26 & Thurs., June 27 at 8pm.

Performances are Fridays; Saturdays and Mondays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm.
There will be no performance on Monday, July 1.

Celebration Theatre
6760 Lexington Ave.
Los Angeles, CA, 90038

Tickets Range from: $30.00 - $50.00

Preview Tickets: $27.50 (Reserved) $22.50 (Middle Section);
$17.50 (General Seating)

For tickets, please call (323) 957-1884 - or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com to purchase tickets online or to view a complete schedule!

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Reviews

Eric A Gordon
"The real standout in every sense is Michael A. Shepperd, the man of many talents who also serves as artistic director of the company, in the role of Roger De Bris, the schlocky theatre director who makes everything he puts his hands on an ode to kitsch. “Keep it light, keep it bright, keep it gay” is his motto—which gives Celebration the raison d’être for taking this work into its repertoire. De Bris will surely make debris out of this crappy pro-fascist play—although Brooks’s choice of name for this character has another meaning. It’s no plot spoiler at this late date to reveal that he unexpectedly assumes the role of Adolf Hitler on opening night, making a flamboyant gay man with a bris—the Hebrew and Yiddish word for a ritual Jewish circumcision—a blatant contradiction of everything Aryan. But Shepperd raises the absurdity level of the show even higher as a Black performer, confounding every possible dream on Liebkind’s part to restore the great Führer’s sadly tarnished reputation. Now this is truly blind casting, but of course deliberate and purposeful in Celebration’s conceit, introducing the theme of racism as the cherry on top of anti-Semitism. An absolutely brilliant touch—and when Mr. Shepperd peers out at you bug-eyed and mugs some of his lines like a blackface Al Jolson singing “Mammy,” the hilarity simply goes off the scale."

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"I can't rave enough about what a terrific production this is in all aspects... - Highly Recommended"

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Avatar
"The big problem, though, is that Matthews and his actors have little aptitude for the Brooks style of comedy. Instead of full-body, explosive-emotion gags, we get merely a wide-eyed Bloom and a loud Bialystock, both racing through the funny business (although Jones does deliver some effectively bull-charging Bialystock moments)."

sweet-sour - Daryl H. Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"I quickly discovered that the entire team, under the judicious direction by Michael Matthews, was top-notch. I was in total awe throughout the entire production." - Highly recommended"

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer
"A secondary couple in the show has no trouble gleefully inhabiting the caricatures they play, one-upping each other with every exchange, and generally chewing every available filing cabinet on Stephen Gifford’s witty set to the delight of the audience. Michael A. Shepperd’s Roger De Bris is a towering, in every sense of the word, achievement. Vain, preposterous, and utterly irresistible, Shepperd offers a master class in timing, takes, and comic brio. His powerful singing is a bonus, and, if the playing space doesn’t allow him to perch on the edge of the stage, he finds the corded mic equivalent for his Garland moment. Don’t miss an early point in the show where he plays a chorus member channeling Joe in Showboat. Andrew Diego’s Carmen Ghia matches Shepperd laugh for laugh and manages the tricky business of doing another performer’s schtick while making it entirely his own."

sweet-sour - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz
"If you’ve never seen the original movie of "The Producers," you’ll love this production – hell, even if you’ve seen it, you’ll probably love it. It’s only old curmudgeons like me who can’t forget Zero exclaiming, piteously but wrathfully, “I’m wearing a cardboard belt!” who will cavil."

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman
"Directed by Michael Matthews (who also directed Cabaret and Brewster Place), it features the same technical excellence as these prior musicals and is unquestionably entertaining. But several of the lead performances are off the mark, and the result is a good production that could have been better."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Valerie-Jean Miller
"It's RuPaul meets Mel Brooks in this delicious rendition of a show that's been recreated a gazillion times, but I assure you, never quite like this! From top to bottom, the entire production was first class, perfectly cast with triple-threaters, going all out in production values as well. The original book, by Mel Brooks, Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman, Music by Thomas Meehan and Lyrics by Mel Brooks has been united with the Artistic Direction of Michael A. Shepperd, Produced by Andrew Carlberg and Rebecca Eisenberg, Michael Matthews, Director, Musical Direction by Anthony Zediker and fabulous Choreography by Janet Roston. And What a Team!"

sweet - Valerie-Jean Miller - Broadway World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder
"This revival is a must-see, once again a testament to the team that keeps turning out jaw-dropping, ingeniously scaled-down Lilliputian versions of huge productions no other intimate theatre company would ever attempt. I am firmly of the opinion that the gamely unflappable Celebration Theatre, especially with the inclusion of the visionary prestidigitation of director Michael Matthews, could take on "War and Peace" and transform it with guaranteed success into a masterful production called "Honey, I Shrunk the Napoleonic Wars.""

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Avatar
"To say that Michael Matthews directs with high style would be accurate and yet hardly capture the clockwork quality of his staging, as if he were doing a jigsaw puzzle and getting the next piece spot-on every time. Added to this, it has a cinematic fluidity which gives the actors so much room to play around that when they move into that very place Matthews wants them to be, it doesn’t look like direction at all but rather as if was totally natural for the characters to get themselves into such knottily twisted physical arrangements. In short, the embodiment of finely tuned farce... If there is a better time to be had in any theater in Los Angeles, lead me to it. But I’m betting it’s a much better idea to see The Producers twice."

sweet - Harvey Perr - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar
"Never let it be said that a large profile show needs an enormous stage to execute fabulous musical numbers, because the tiny LGBTQQIA-friendly Celebration Theatre at the Lex has surpassed any expectations for re-creating the wonderfully funny 2001 Tony award-winning Broadway hit. On an almost impossibly small stage, 13 cast members bring to life the improbable story of producer Max Bialystock's (Richardson Jones) frenzied quest for a return to glory."

sweet - Melinda Schupmann - ShowMag - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"Precisely the reimagined, reinvented wonder of a show that Mel Brooks fans have been waiting for, Celebration’s The Producers is guaranteed to be this summer’s biggest small-stage musical smash."

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar
"THE PRODUCERS is an uproarious, utterly ridiculous look at the inner workings of Broadway. The play pokes fun at everything and anything with nonsensical accents, caricatures of homosexuals and Nazis, physical humor coupled with clever lines. In a word, nothing is sacred in Brooks’ hilarious comedy. Kudos to everyone involved in the production, including director Michael Matthews, music director Anthony Zediker, live band members (Leigh Anne Gillespie, Chris Payne, and Phil Moore), choreographer Janet Roston, costume designer E. B. Brooks, the entire production team, and – last but not least – a terrific ensemble cast with the energy, joie de vivre, and enthusiasm to keep up the rollicking pace to the last note. Special congratulations to Richardson Jones and Christopher Jewell Valentin, who are onstage almost throughout. The Celebration Theatre’s latest production, THE PRODUCERS, is one of their best."

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon
"The real standout in every sense is Michael A. Shepperd, the man of many talents who also serves as artistic director of the company, in the role of Roger De Bris, the schlocky theatre director who makes everything he puts his hands on an ode to kitsch. “Keep it light, keep it bright, keep it gay” is his motto—which gives Celebration the raison d’être for taking this work into its repertoire. De Bris will surely make debris out of this crappy pro-fascist play—although Brooks’s choice of name for this character has another meaning. It’s no plot spoiler at this late date to reveal that he unexpectedly assumes the role of Adolf Hitler on opening night, making a flamboyant gay man with a bris—the Hebrew and Yiddish word for a ritual Jewish circumcision—a blatant contradiction of everything Aryan. But Shepperd raises the absurdity level of the show even higher as a Black performer, confounding every possible dream on Liebkind’s part to restore the great Führer’s sadly tarnished reputation. Now this is truly blind casting, but of course deliberate and purposeful in Celebration’s conceit, introducing the theme of racism as the cherry on top of anti-Semitism. An absolutely brilliant touch—and when Mr. Shepperd peers out at you bug-eyed and mugs some of his lines like a blackface Al Jolson singing “Mammy,” the hilarity simply goes off the scale."

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"I can't rave enough about what a terrific production this is in all aspects... - Highly Recommended"

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Avatar
"The big problem, though, is that Matthews and his actors have little aptitude for the Brooks style of comedy. Instead of full-body, explosive-emotion gags, we get merely a wide-eyed Bloom and a loud Bialystock, both racing through the funny business (although Jones does deliver some effectively bull-charging Bialystock moments)."

sweet-sour - Daryl H. Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"I quickly discovered that the entire team, under the judicious direction by Michael Matthews, was top-notch. I was in total awe throughout the entire production." - Highly recommended"

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer
"A secondary couple in the show has no trouble gleefully inhabiting the caricatures they play, one-upping each other with every exchange, and generally chewing every available filing cabinet on Stephen Gifford’s witty set to the delight of the audience. Michael A. Shepperd’s Roger De Bris is a towering, in every sense of the word, achievement. Vain, preposterous, and utterly irresistible, Shepperd offers a master class in timing, takes, and comic brio. His powerful singing is a bonus, and, if the playing space doesn’t allow him to perch on the edge of the stage, he finds the corded mic equivalent for his Garland moment. Don’t miss an early point in the show where he plays a chorus member channeling Joe in Showboat. Andrew Diego’s Carmen Ghia matches Shepperd laugh for laugh and manages the tricky business of doing another performer’s schtick while making it entirely his own."

sweet-sour - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz
"If you’ve never seen the original movie of "The Producers," you’ll love this production – hell, even if you’ve seen it, you’ll probably love it. It’s only old curmudgeons like me who can’t forget Zero exclaiming, piteously but wrathfully, “I’m wearing a cardboard belt!” who will cavil."

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman
"Directed by Michael Matthews (who also directed Cabaret and Brewster Place), it features the same technical excellence as these prior musicals and is unquestionably entertaining. But several of the lead performances are off the mark, and the result is a good production that could have been better."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Valerie-Jean Miller
"It's RuPaul meets Mel Brooks in this delicious rendition of a show that's been recreated a gazillion times, but I assure you, never quite like this! From top to bottom, the entire production was first class, perfectly cast with triple-threaters, going all out in production values as well. The original book, by Mel Brooks, Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman, Music by Thomas Meehan and Lyrics by Mel Brooks has been united with the Artistic Direction of Michael A. Shepperd, Produced by Andrew Carlberg and Rebecca Eisenberg, Michael Matthews, Director, Musical Direction by Anthony Zediker and fabulous Choreography by Janet Roston. And What a Team!"

sweet - Valerie-Jean Miller - Broadway World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder
"This revival is a must-see, once again a testament to the team that keeps turning out jaw-dropping, ingeniously scaled-down Lilliputian versions of huge productions no other intimate theatre company would ever attempt. I am firmly of the opinion that the gamely unflappable Celebration Theatre, especially with the inclusion of the visionary prestidigitation of director Michael Matthews, could take on "War and Peace" and transform it with guaranteed success into a masterful production called "Honey, I Shrunk the Napoleonic Wars.""

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Avatar
"To say that Michael Matthews directs with high style would be accurate and yet hardly capture the clockwork quality of his staging, as if he were doing a jigsaw puzzle and getting the next piece spot-on every time. Added to this, it has a cinematic fluidity which gives the actors so much room to play around that when they move into that very place Matthews wants them to be, it doesn’t look like direction at all but rather as if was totally natural for the characters to get themselves into such knottily twisted physical arrangements. In short, the embodiment of finely tuned farce... If there is a better time to be had in any theater in Los Angeles, lead me to it. But I’m betting it’s a much better idea to see The Producers twice."

sweet - Harvey Perr - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar
"Never let it be said that a large profile show needs an enormous stage to execute fabulous musical numbers, because the tiny LGBTQQIA-friendly Celebration Theatre at the Lex has surpassed any expectations for re-creating the wonderfully funny 2001 Tony award-winning Broadway hit. On an almost impossibly small stage, 13 cast members bring to life the improbable story of producer Max Bialystock's (Richardson Jones) frenzied quest for a return to glory."

sweet - Melinda Schupmann - ShowMag - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"Precisely the reimagined, reinvented wonder of a show that Mel Brooks fans have been waiting for, Celebration’s The Producers is guaranteed to be this summer’s biggest small-stage musical smash."

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar
"THE PRODUCERS is an uproarious, utterly ridiculous look at the inner workings of Broadway. The play pokes fun at everything and anything with nonsensical accents, caricatures of homosexuals and Nazis, physical humor coupled with clever lines. In a word, nothing is sacred in Brooks’ hilarious comedy. Kudos to everyone involved in the production, including director Michael Matthews, music director Anthony Zediker, live band members (Leigh Anne Gillespie, Chris Payne, and Phil Moore), choreographer Janet Roston, costume designer E. B. Brooks, the entire production team, and – last but not least – a terrific ensemble cast with the energy, joie de vivre, and enthusiasm to keep up the rollicking pace to the last note. Special congratulations to Richardson Jones and Christopher Jewell Valentin, who are onstage almost throughout. The Celebration Theatre’s latest production, THE PRODUCERS, is one of their best."

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review