Kay Makes Musical Debut in Manchester ProducersDate: 13 November 2006
Mel Brooks’ multi award-winning musical comedy The Producers - which finishes its two-year West End run at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 6 January 2007 (See News, 23 Jun 2006) - will open in Manchester on 19 February 2007 ahead of a planned tour, with comedian Peter Kay (pictured) starring as camp director Roger DeBris.
Based on Brooks' 1968 Oscar-winning film and set in New York in 1959, the plot revolves around washed-up theatre producer Max Bialystock who, with his timid accountant Leo Bloom, cooks up a scheme to make a fortune by presenting a sure-fire flop called "Springtime for Hitler" – directed by the world’s worst director, Roger DeBris (Kay). In the West End, the parts of Max and Leo are currently played by Corey English and the League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmtih, but no further casting has yet been announced for the tour.
Since opening in the West End on 9 November 2004, The Producers’ many accolades include Best Musical/New Musical at the Olivier, the Evening Standard, the Whatsonstage.com and the Critics’ Circle Awards. The production recouped its £5,500,000 capitalisation in record-breaking time.
The musical will run at Manchester’s Palace Theatre from 19 February 2007 to 13 May 2007, prior to a tour (full dates still to be announced). Kay, who won a Manchester Evening news Theatre Award for his comedy show My Mum Wants a Bungalow in 2003, is best known for his television work including Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere. He has also appeared in The League of Gentlemen, Coronation Street and Doctor Who.
Kay commented: “I’ve always been a huge fan of The Producers, ever since I first saw the film on telly when I was eleven. For years I harboured a secret ambition to turn The Producers into a stage musical, even going so far as to write a rough stage adaptation for it in an old school exercise book. Luckily, Mel Brooks beat me to it and created what I think is the funniest musical of all time. So to finally get an opportunity to play a part in a production of it is definitely, for me a real dream come true. I can’t wait.”
- by Caroline Ansdell