Tom Frey is Leo Bloom and Kraig Swartz is Max Bialystock with Elyse Collier as Ulla in The Peterborough Players’ The Producers. Photos by William Howell

By EVE FISHER
Your Local Court Jester

PETERBOROUGH — I’ll admit now that I am a huge musical theatre nerd, so when I really like a musical I can get so excited that I can’t even articulate it. I’ll try to keep it together so I can tell you exactly why this show was so good.

I’m talking about The Producers, which opened at the Peterborough Players Wednesday night.

The Producers, book by Mel Brook and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics also by Brooks, tells the story of Max Bialystock (Kraig Swartz), a washed up Broadway producer, and Leo Bloom (Tom Frey), an accountant who wants to escape his unhappy existence and become a producer. The two concoct a scheme to produce a surefire flop. They raise more money than they need to put on the show and plan to keep the rest for themselves when the play flops.

Based on the 1968 movie, also by Brooks, the irreverent comedic masterpiece The Producers has become a musical theatre classic since premiering on Broadway in 2001.

The way the Players just take this amazing book and score and bring it to life is so incredible. As I was watching it, it occurred to me how hard The Producers, as a show, must be to pull off. Every element in the show must’ve taken so much hard work and effort to pull off and they made it look easy.

First of all, this show just looked incredible. It’s odd to think about, but just the aesthetic alone made the show pleasing in the first place. The dancing and choreography, the costumes, the blocking, the set. Don’t get me started on the set changes! I could feel the scene changes in my body. They were so smooth. I didn’t think a scene change could be that aesthetically pleasing until now.

Secondly, the performances were amazing. The acting, the singing, the dancing, all of it was amazing. Kraig Swartz and Tom Frey made Bialystock and Bloom not only strong characters in their own right, but a strong team as well. But the strength didn’t just lie in the leads, every actor that walked out on that stage got a laugh. And, quite honestly, as soon as Ulla (portrayed stunningly by Elyse Collier) entered I wanted to be her.

And lastly, in brief, just go see this show. It’s spectacular. I can tell you, it’s anything but a flop.

Performances are Wednesday though Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m.and an additional matinee performance on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. The show runs through Aug. 13.

There are Talkbacks with the cast following the first Friday and Sunday performances and a Cabaret following the performances on Saturdays.

Tickets are $39. The box office can be reached at 603-924-7585 or online at www.peterboroughplayers.org.

The Producers is Rated PG-13 for Adult Humor and Titillating Situations.

The Peterborough Players is located at 55 Hadley Rd in Peterborough,.