The Producers

The Westchester Broadway Theatre’s production of The Producers runs through November 15, 2008.

It is difficult to resist comparing a regional production to a wildly successful Broadway play, not to mention the Hollywood movie.

So I will try not to do so.  I loved Bob Amaral as Max Bialystock.  Actors are expected to be at their best at every performance, an impossibility.  But they are expected to give creditable performances each time, and should. Demanding audiences rarely give a thought to the fact that on matinee days the actors have just performed the night before and have another show in just a few hours.  So it is understandable if a singer does not leave it all on the stage with every high energy song.  Amaral is up to the task even when he is saving just a bit for the evening performance, but when he did his final solo number, “Betrayed,” a very demanding song, he held nothing back.  His best of the evening.

Anthony Valbiro, as engaging offstage as on, clearly enjoys his thirty or forty different roles.  Okay, I admit I lost count.  But the writers of the program seem to have lost count too, as he is just listed as (Ensemble).  From his opening scene drunk to his Mr. Marks, his cop, his nazi and jailbird he is full of energy.  Clearly, for Anthony, the stage is home.

Karen McNay as Ulla acts, sings and dances well, and of course has the physical beauty without which this role fails.  There were no bad performances.  Craig Fols commands the stage as he must in the role of Roger DeBris, but I wish director David Edwards had asked him to be a bit more over the top.  You simply cannot be too broad in farce in general, and Mel Brooks rewrites the book every time he opens his mouth or lifts his pen.

The two performances which jumped out were John West as Carmen Ghia, from the Volkswagen of the same name, and Eric Anderson who nails Franz Liebkind, the worst playwright in history.

The ensemble is great.  Amy Griffin shows great versatility in her multiple roles.

The show is scheduled to run through November 15 and is great fun.