Over at the Warner Theatre, they’re unhappy. Very unhappy.
On Nov. 17, the Warner Theatre announced the cancellation of The Producers: The New Mel Brooks Musical, which was supposed to run from Nov. 21 to Nov. 26. “The Thanksgiving week proved to be challenging for ticket sales,” says Barrett Newman, general manager at the theater.
“We feel awful that our audiences are deprived of the chance to see the show,” Newman says. “We feel equally awful that our staff won’t have the pre-holiday employment.”
The Warner Theatre folks feel so bad, in fact, that they’ve looped a couple of The Producers’ lyrics on their telephone line. Call the theater and you’ll hear, “Unhappy. Unhappy. Very unhappy.” And, for now, that’s the closest you’re going to get to The Producers.
There was a time, however, when The Producers seemed unstoppable. Back on Broadway, the musical broke all kinds of records for ticket sales and awards nominations. In Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mel Brooks cast Larry David in a leading role just so the juggernaut would finally flop. The show even had a successful run at the Kennedy Center a couple of summers ago. So what happened? Maybe Hitler’s springtime has faded into fall, or worse, withered away into winter. Has The Producers lost its luster at last?
Not yet, says Renee Miller, a spokesperson with Baci Management Inc., the production company handling the musical’s national tour. She calls the cancellation “D.C. specific,” and says that, to her knowledge, the show’s stint in Philadelphia last week went on without a hitch.
Meanwhile, although Warner is upset about what happened with The Producers, the theater isn’t going to sever its ties to Baci just yet. “We have a long relationship with Baci,” Newman says. “They’re a small organization that does a lot across the country.” Baci has plans to partner with Warner again in 2007 for productions of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida and Cabaret, Miller says.