Jamie Torcellini (left) and Larry Raben in "The Producers." Photo by Ken Jacques
Only a Mel Brooks show can still get laughs with the “Walk this way” sight gag. No one can get away with broad, irreverent and politically incorrect comedy like Brooks can, which makes The Producers musical based on his 1968 film such a guilty pleasure. The family-minded Moonlight Stage Productions has opened its 39th summer season with one for the grown-ups. Its staging of the 2001 musical does not disappoint either.
The production reunites actors Jamie Torcellini and Larry Raben, who played the lead and second banana respectively in Moonlight’s 2013 Young Frankenstein. This time around, Torcellini stars as sleazy Broadway producer Max Bialystock, with Raben (who also directs) as timid account Leo Bloom. They’re both in fine form, as are Josh Adamson, Luke H. Jacobs and Max Cadillac in uproarious supporting roles. Moonlight’s orchestra conducted by Lyndon Pugeda is big time, too. The Producers is an irresistible farce still capable of shocking first-time viewers.
(Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 6/19/19)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.