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MTW Produces "The Producers"

Blog Producers Musical Theatre West in Long Beach, which has made quantum leaps in quality during the past few seasons with smashing productions of The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Altar Boyz, The Andrews Brothers, All Shook Up, and more, is gearing up for its January regional premiere of Mel Brooks' Broadway megahit The Producers. The terrific musical, based on Brook's classic 1968 film comedy, has only been seen in L.A. previously in the national touring edition.

To mark the occasion, director Steven Glaudini has assembled a stellar cast of L.A. favorites and veterans of Broadway and national tours. Heading the cast in the plum role of weaselly entrepreneur Max Bialystock is Back Stage columnist Michael Kostroff (pictured) who appeared in the first national tour of the show, playing 12 roles a night and understudying the roles of Max and the cross-dressing director Roger DeBris. Kostroff is well-known for playing Maurice Levy in HBO's The Wire. Appearing opposite Kostroff as Max's hysterical colleague Leo Bloom will be Larry Raben, one of the original Forever Plaid crooners, repeating a role he played on Broadway and In Las Vegas. Prolific Angelino performer David Engel, who has appeared on Broadway and in countless regional and touring shows, takes the choice part of the histrionic DeBris.

Blog Producers kostroff Other major characters will be played by Sarah Cornell as the Swedish smorgasbord Ulla, Michael Pastronostro as the flamboyant Carmen Ghia, and Eric Anderson as Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind.

The winner of a record 12 Tonys, The Producers is a madcap showbiz farce, blessed with a hilarious and tuneful score--Brooks' first for a Broadway show. Though the show opens January 31, it should feel like springtime for Musical Theatre West when this hugely popular show makes its bow. The wonderful talent assembled for the local premiere raises our hopes for a spectacular and hilarious time.

--Les Spindle

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