Written by: Heather Rivera
Montclair, New Jersey – Opening night. That was the vibrant and upbeat number the usherettes welcomed the audience
with. The Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University hit the stage and brought the hit musical and film, The Producers to life at the Alexander Kasser Theatre. The Producers entails the very dangerous and outrageous
shenanigans Max Bialystock, a washed out producer, and Leopold Bloom, an aspiring producer encounter, as they set out to produce a “flop” musical in order to pocket the two million dollars. The lead actors; Thomas Beebe, who played Max Bialystock, and Nick Zale, the actor who portrayed Leopold Bloom, did a phenomenal job bringing the duo to life.
The dynamic between Zale and Beebe is also something to take note of, Zale’s timid and passive demeanor as Bloom rivaled against the boisterous and aggressive Max Bialystock. From Beebe and Zale’s first song, “We Can Do It” to their final number “Leo and Max”, the progression of the Max and Leo relationship, as well as their character development is evident. When we’re introduced to Leo, he is an accountant that dreamed of being a producer, but was too afraid to take chances. By the end of the musical, Bloom is not only a producer of Broadway hits, but he falls in love, and marries
the beautiful Ulla. Leopold Bloom’s real payoff however, is when he finally earns the producer’s hat from Max, a hat that Leo has been chasing throughout the musical.
Max Bialystock, the producer who was once called the King of Broadway, has fallen from grace when we first meet him. We see Max not hesitate to scheme, plot, and use others, in order to profit, but by the end of the musical, Max is shown to care for someone other than himself: Leo Bloom. The relationship between those characters is a vital part of the musical, and two front-running actors used that relationship in the most
comical, yet endearing way. Annie-Elizabeth Caltrider, Ryan Kieman, and Jared Cowley were also incredible in their respective roles, Caltrider played a spectacular Ulla, and
her solo, “When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It” brought a refreshing touch to the musical.
Ryan’s role as Roger and Jared’s performance as Franz was were also wonderful to watch, the actors really stepped up and shined in delivering the complexity of the characters they played. Overall, The Producers was highly entertaining from start to finish, while providing several key elements: comedy, friendship, suspense, and love. The Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University brought their A+
game in this production.