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Far-fetched and farcical/silly
Teamwork and collaboration


Ryan Sparkes

The Producers by Mel Brooks and Thomas


The story of Max Bialystock, a Broadway producer with

seemingly no future after a glowing history, and Leo Bloom, a sad
and nervous accountant who dreams of producing a Broadway
show, work together to put on the biggest Broadway flop in history
with the goal of raising more money than with a hit. Along the
way, they discover an extremely offensive musical and convince a
terrible director to lead it, all the while hiring the worst actors in
New York to perform in this Nazi musical Springtime for Hitler.
The show sees surprising success, and Max and Leo must struggle
to come to terms with the failure of their fraudulent scheme.


Occurs in 1959 (dated), based around post-World War II sentiments


The presentation of the accounting theory
Seeking out the show, writer, director, backers etc.
Opening Night performance of Springtime for Hitler
Courtroom appearance
Prisoners of Love performance, in and out of prison

Max Bialystock sleazy, underhanded, out for his own hide
Leopold Bloom mousy, lack of self-confidence, secretly ambitious
Ulla drop-dead gorgeous, theatrical performer and bombshell, love interest of the musical
Franz Liebkind composer of Springtime for Hitler, adherent to Nazism, ardent believer
Roger de Bris renowned theatrical director, very gay, frivolous and light
Carmen Ghia Rogers assistant and partner, supportive of Roger in all of his endeavors
Hold Me-Touch Me One of Bialystocks backers, dirty old lady, wild sexual fantasies
Assorted ensemble roles and bit parts throughout
Pigeon coop with puppets for Franz rooftop; office is laid out very specifically, needs a
balcony and French doors; opening-closing night sign for the theater

The Producers (1968 film by Mel Brooks)

Ryan Sparkes
Dr. Graham
MUCE 495 Directing Musical Theater
The Producers by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks
First Impression
Book/Script Overall story is based on a far-fetched idea, and as such is presented in a far-fetched, farcical manner. Many characters are caricatured or
stereotyped with the intention of drawing on our expectations of conventional musical theater, as well as parodying people within this parody-like story.
Devices such as irony are used in a way where the unexpected almost becomes the expected and vice versa, and the show goes so far as to break the
fourth wall with some of the exchanges (Why Bloom move so far stage right?). Obviously, this musical farce is riddled with humor and jokes, some more
long-term and drawn out than others.
Language/Vernacular The language is easily understandable and often crass at times. The humor is classic Mel Brooks, in which he is not afraid to remove
all sense of subtlety for comedic effect or otherwise. Characters curse regularly, and sexual innuendo and explicit implication are prominently referenced
throughout the show (who do you have to f*** to get a break in this town?).
Vocal Influenced by more traditional, golden-age Broadway conventions of musical comedies, as well as modern, more contemporary popular
influences, but primarily maintaining a classic feel to the music. Vocal styles vary by character, and the songs are specifically designed to fit characters
and their stereotypes (Franz Liebkind sings Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop and Have you Heard the German Band? (Haben sie gehrt das Deutsche Band?)
while Ulla sings When You Got it, Flaunt it). Mix of jazz, German blaskapelle, Klesmer, tango, soft-shoe, and golden-age Broadway etc. the vocal lines
support the mood, attitudes, and overall characters.
Instrumental rather full orchestration, makes great use of instrumental color and orchestral sweeps, altering style regularly as the songs require.
The accompaniments support the vocal line in their jazzy or German styles, especially in the grand sweep and characterized orchestrations of classic
Broadway. Very brassy, with use of drum-set and mallet percussion and prominent use of saxophone, with the instrumentation shifting according to the
style called for by the song.
Overall Feel of Setting the setting is relatively generic New York City in the late 1950s. Max Bialystocks office is a mess in Act I, contributing to a sense of
hopelessness, while the office of Whitehall and Marks is also droll and boring. The residence of Roger de Bris provides a little more frivolous color and
gayness, but the rooftop of the Village apartment is positively generic, but calls for a unique pigeon coop. In general, the sets are all primarily vehicles for
the characters, and each manages to represent the general attitude and feel of the characters, like Leo being rather glum and white-bread in the
accounting firm, or Roger being very effeminately gay and lavish, or Max being a disheveled mess whose life and work is in shambles.
Tone The set, and the show, provides an overall silly tone, with verbal and visual jokes which lack subtlety. The scenes and sets call for very specific
features to allow the characters to interact in specific ways, usually in ways which add to the over-the-top humor in this show. In this way, the set is
very functional and meant to serve the story and characters, not designed as any spectacle on its own.
Main Characters
Protagonist Max Bialystock is the driving force behind the plot of the show. It is his desperation and desire to earn a quick fortune which propel the
plot forward and influence the characters to behave and respond naturally to his ulterior motives. Even his partner, Leo Bloom, is under his thumb so
to speak, in that Max makes just about every decision pertaining to the show and has Leo there as added support. Max carries the most weight and
has the most power, exercising his sleaze and pressure as well as he can to work out in his favor.
Antagonist While the show does not necessarily have one specific antagonist for the duration, the primary force acting against Max in a number of
moments in the show is his very own business partner, Leo Bloom. In the beginning, Leo resists Maxs efforts to get Leo in on the scheme proposed
by Leo himself, and later Leo decides he will turn himself and Max into the police when the show is a success and their scheme fails. When Max gets
caught with the fraudulent books and taken in by the police, Leo remains out of sight and instead of going to turn himself in, runs away to Rio and
leaves Max in jail without him. This changes when Max is in court, as Leo comes to support his friend, but for these two pivotal moments in the show,
Leo is the primary force acting against Max. Even the unintentional act of falling in love with Ulla and pursuing this romance is antagonistic to Maxs
plans at a relationship with Ulla. When viewed from this perspective, Leo is Maxs greatest antagonist beside the authorities and forces beyond his

Overall Arc of
Act I the first act focuses on the exposition of the issues and conflicts of the main characters (Max and Leo), including their goals for the show
primarily Maxs goal of putting on a Broadway flop and dishonestly earning a fortune, and Leos goal of breaking away from his mundane life and
pursue his life-long dream of becoming a Broadway producer, regardless of the scruples he must sacrifice to achieve this dream. The rest of the act
consists of the producers bringing the necessary components of the show together and getting the production started, including finding a show,
getting the rights from the writer, finding a director, then raising the funds. The show is about to be installed at the Shubert Theater by the end of
the act, with all the parts except the full casting put together.
Act II the second act focuses on the opening night performance and aftermath of Bialystock and Blooms production of Springtime for Hitler. After
Leo and Ulla become lovers, the show is cast (with Franz Liebkind, the writer of the show, in the title role), and it is opening night. Liebkind breaks his
leg, so director Roger de Bris steps in, takes a more individualized approach to the lead role, which helps the show become a huge success instead of
the offensive flop it was meant to be.
Entire Show
Act I
Scene 1: Opening Night of Funny Boy, a musical production of Hamlet produced by Max Bialystock outside the Shubert Theater, Broadway, New York City.
Opening Night (Usherettes, First Nighters) and The King of Old Broadway (Max and Bum/Blind Violinist/Bag Lady/Ensemble) are performed. Usherettes
introduce the action and set the scene, and the opening night crowd barrels out of the theater and animatedly sings about how awful the show is. Theater worker
reveals the opening night sign to double as a closing night sign. Max reveals himself behind a newspaper, reading the reviews (the critics left after intermission),
and sings about his former glory and successes to the poor people of the street. He vows to rise again to prominence as a noteworthy Broadway producer.
Scene 2: Max Bialystocks Office, about a month after the opening of Funny Boy. We Can Do It (Max and Leo) is performed. Leo Bloom enters to find Max
asleep on his couch, almost running in fright. Bloom introduces himself as an accountant present to do the books, but is forced into the bathroom by Max when
one of his backers (Hold Me-Touch Me) is there for sex with Max. Max tries to stave off the old lady as Leo spies the exchange after leaving the bathroom. Max
asks his backer to leave, and then expresses frustration at his station in life, in which Leo reveals his admiration for Max and how he was inspired to become a
Broadway producer. He then proceeds to do as Max calls out the window to a blonde bombshell down below on the street (When you got it, flaunt it! FLAUNT
IT!). Leo asks to speak to Max about missing funds in his books, but from added pressure by Max pulls out a blue comfort blanket out of nervousness. Max
inquires and takes this blanket from Leo, who proceeds to have an anxiety attack, continuing even after Max returns the blanket. Max tries multiple tactics to
calm down Leo, finally helping him to settle. Leo discusses the missing $2000 from Maxs Funny Boy production, Max desperately asks Leo to hid the money
somewhere. In agreeing to this, he theorizes that a show could make more money with a flop than with a hit, in which Max decides to inquire into details and
follow through with this plan, raising $2 million to produce a $100,000 flop and keep the remainder of the money. He tries to convince Leo to join him in this
venture, though Leo resists in fear (We Can Do It) and returns to the accounting firm, leaving Max desperately praying for help.
Scene 3: Whitehall and Marks Accounting Firm (I Wanna Be a Producer). Leo returns to the firm, is accosted and demeaned by his boss while the other
accountants sing how they are very, very, very unhappy. Leo fantasizes about how he wants to be a producer, imagining beautiful showgirls performing a tap
line dance number with him on an elaborate set-piece with Leos name in lights. The fantasy dies away, at which point Leo decides to quit his job and return to
Maxs office and join him in his underhanded production.
Scene 4: Maxs Office (We Can Do It (Reprise)). Leo returns to the office to tell Max that he will join him, much to Maxs excitement.
Scene 5: Maxs Office (I Wanna Be a Producer (Reprise)). Max and Leo have been up all night reading musical scripts seeking the worst musical ever written.
Max eventually stumbles across Springtime for Hitler by Franz Liebkind. The two go to leave for the composers apartment in Greenwich Village, at which point
Leo is denied the chance to wear the Broadway producers hat, and they sing about their plan to produce a great big Broadway flop.
Scene 6: Rooftop of apartment complex on Jane Street in Greenwich Village, New York City (In Old Bavaria and Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop). Franz Liebkind, a
runaway Nazi from Germany, with his pigeons, sings how he misses his homeland, Bavaria. Max and Leo arrive on the scene, and Franz quickly denies anything
to do with Nazism, assuming them from the government. They share they want to produce Springtime for Hitler, which elates Franz, but he will only sign the
contract after the two producers sing and dance to der Fhrers favorite dance (Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop), which requires rolled-up pants, leaping, swaying,
clapping, and a parody of a traditional Bavarian clog dance. After the song and dance, Max and Leo are forced to take the Siegfried Oath in honor of Hitler (which
they begrudgingly do while flipping the bird) and have Franz sign the contract.
Scene 7: Upper East Side townhouse of Roger de Bris on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in June (Keep it Gay). Max and Leo arrive at director Roger de Briss
residence, greeted by Carmen Ghia, his common-law assistant. Roger explains that he read Springtime for Hitler, but cannot direct it because it is too dark and

heavy, and his thought is that theater must be light, happy, and gay. Keep it Gay is the expression of his ideas and style as a director, and Max and Leos
attempts to get Roger to direct the show, who is convinced after the thought of a Tony and the proposal that the show be rewritten so that Germany wins the war.
Scene 8: Maxs Office (When You Got It, Flaunt It Along Came Bialy (Part I)). Max and Leo return to the office after convincing Roger to direct, and they are
shortly thereafter greeted by Ulla Inga Hansen Bensen Yonsen Tallen-Hallen Svaden-Svansen, a young ingnue from Sweden looking to audition for Springtime
for Hitler. She auditions with When You Got It, Flaunt It, singing about the advantages of a woman willing to bare it all in the theater. Max is particularly
excited at the prospect of a beautiful blonde woman in the show, while Leo is hesitant at first, but later enamored by Ulla. Max and Leo decide to keep her
around before auditions begin by having her be a secretary/receptionist in their office, so that Max may try and pursue her. They request that she tidy up
around the messy office. After she is hired, Max prepares to go to Little Old Lady Land and sleep with the old ladies of New York to earn money for Springtime
for Hitler in Along Came Bialy.
Scene 9: Max has little encounters with old ladies who meanwhile are doing a tap sequence with walkers. He earns the $2 million for himself and Leo, and the
production is starting to be put together, as the separate groups and characters from the act come together in a large interwoven Act I finale featuring reprises of
music from throughout the act (a la West Side Story or Les Misrables but sillier and more light-hearted). Things are looking up for Max and Leo.
Act II
Scene 1: Office of Max Bialystock (That Face). Max and Leo enter the office, which is now not only clean, but painted a pristine white. Max exits with money
from the safe to deliver to the Shubert brothers, while Leo stays to work with Ulla in the office. Ulla attempts to flirt with Leo, who resists at first but later gives
into temptation and the two share a dance, later kissing at the end of their number.
Scene 2: Shubert Theater stage (Haben Sie gehrt das Deutsche Band?). Auditions for the role of Hitler in Springtime for Hitler. Chaos ensues, and the
director witnesses a handful of pitiful auditions, one of which outrages Franz Liebkind so badly that he demonstrates how to properly perform one of his favorite
German songs. His performance is so moving that Max cries out Thats our Hitler! and Franz lands the title role in his own musical.
Scene 3: Outside Shubert Theater (Opening Night (Reprise) You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night), opening night of Springtime for Hitler, and there is
much excitement in the air among everyone, each for different reasons. Leo wishes everyone good luck, but is quickly told by the shocked regulars of the
theater that this causes bad things to happen to a production (all the while Max is bidding everyone good luck and throwing other superstitious obstacles in the
way of the performers). In a hurry, Franz falls down the stairs and breaks his leg, meaning Roger (the only other person who knows the role) must perform as
Hitler. He hurries to get ready for the performance after some convincing that he can go on and perform.
Scene 4: Stage of the Shubert Theater (Springtime for Hitler/Heil Myself/Springtime for Hitler (Reprise)). First scene of the production, and audience members
are already offended at the poor taste of the subject matter and treatment of Nazism and Hitler in a positive light. Once Roger enters as a very flamboyant,
frivolous, gay Hitler, the audience begins to laugh and view the entire production as satire. The production receives tremendous applause.
Scene 5: Office of Max Bialystock (Where Did We Go Right? That Face (Reprise)), after the curtain falls on opening night of Springtime for Hitler. Leo and
Max return to the office and read the reviews of the show, all of which are raving and praising the musical as a masterpiece. The two realize that they are in deep
trouble, as they now have no way to pay off the backers with the amount of money they raised. Leo decides to turn in the books and deal with a jail sentence for
a few years, but Max resists, and the two fight over the books as Roger and Carmen enter in celebration. Shortly after, Franz enters with a pistol about to shoot
everyone for making a fool out of his precious Hitler. Roger and Carmen hide in the closet (tee hee), and Max attempts to talk down Franz by telling him to kill
the actors, not the production team, which Leo finds appalling. The police arrive on the scene since they heard gunshots, Franz tries to escape but falls down the
stairs and breaks his other leg. Max tries to flee the cops, but they find his books and take him in, while Leo manages to hide behind the office door. Ulla arrives
after the hullabaloo to find Leo in the office, and Leo is forced to decide whether to turn himself in with Max, or take the $2 million and run away to Rio.
Scene 6: Jail Cell (Betrayed), weeks after the incident in the office. Max receives a postcard from Leo, who went with Ulla to Brazil with the money, leaving Max
to rot in jail while awaiting his prison sentence. Max expresses how betrayed he feels by his companion, feeling duped and going over the whole situation in
summary (reviewing the show so far) finding that this all started with Leo from the start.
Scene 7: Courtroom ( Til Him). Max is on trial and found incredibly guilty by the jury. As Max provides a statement, Leo arrives at the courtroom and begins
to defend Max and express his gratitude for being valued and appreciated, as well as encouraging him to break out of his shell and live life, fulfilling his dreams.
Max returns the sentiment by expressing his appreciation for Leos friendship and positive support to create a touching, bromantic duet. The two are jointly
convicted and sentenced to do time in Sing-Sing.
Scene 8: Prison, the Shubert Theater (Prisoners of Love Leo and Max). Max, Leo, and Franz are collaborating on producing a musical in Sing-Sing comprised of
the prisoners, with a great deal of support from within the prison infrastructure. The three are granted a full pardon for providing a positive environment in the

prison and are free from prison, and proceed to produce Prisoners of Love on Broadway. After a successful opening night (with Roger and Ulla starring), Leo
earns his Broadway producers hat, and Leo and Max sing about their successes and future in producing Broadway hits.
Bows: Goodbye is sung by the cast as a comical farewell to the audience, breaking the fourth wall in a light-hearted manner.
Character Analysis
Max Bialystock middle-aged man, down on his luck, a once-successful Broadway producer who is struggling to put on a hit Broadway show. He starts out as the
laughingstock of Broadway, but desires to reclaim his former glory and rise to the top once more. Max is underhanded, sleazy, not afraid to take advantage of
people, and objectifying of women. He has relatively loose morals, and his desire to bring Leos theory to fruition is the primary force that moves the plot forward
in the show. Throughout the story, he develops a fairly close bond with Leo as his business partner and mentor in showing him the business, and by the end finds
that he has a deep friendship with him, a special relationship he has never before known.
Leo Bloom younger man, perhaps early 30s, leading a normal, boring life as an accountant at Whitehall and Marks Accounting Firm in New York. A mousy
individual with almost no sense of self-worth, Leo is a nervous person who requires a blue comfort blanket to keep him at ease when placed under anxietyinducing conditions. This leads the viewer to believe that Leo had a troubled childhood with little support from his family, that blanket quite possibly being the
same blanket that kept him warm in the cradle. Even at a young age, Leo was treated as a lesser person with little respect, despite him being creative and
relatively smart. Leo was moved by the theater as a kid, having a secret desire to be a Broadway producer. Leo proposes the idea that a producer could make
more money with a flop than he could with a hit which feeds Maxs goals of raising $2 million for a small-budget flop. Leo is the idea person behind this grand
scheme, and his knowledge of the occurrence requires that Max have him in on the endeavor, and he acts as Maxs assistant, starting out as his tail that does as
Max does, and working his way up to making decisions for himself and asserting his own thoughts and feelings, even going so far as to abandon his friend for Ulla
and Rio. Later, he returns and establishes officially his deep appreciation for Max and how much he feels important and valued.
Ulla Inga Hansen Bensen Yansen Tallen-Hallen Svaden-Svansen Ulla is a young lady in her 20s from Sweden, looking for an opportunity to perform on Broadway
and willing to stop at nothing to earn herself a role, even revealing herself and going nude (flaunting it). Ulla is first driven by a desire to work in theater, and
later seeks love from Leo and to be with him. Ulla acts simultaneously as the sex object of the musical as well as the leading lady for the production of
Springtime for Hitler, also working for Max and Leo in the office while waiting for the rest of casting to take place. She lets on that she is not necessarily the
brightest bulb, but really could just suffer from culture shock, and understands the underhanded dealings in the office but speaks nothing of them, merely
enjoying her position as secretary/receptionist and leading lady of Springtime for Hitler.
Franz Liebkind German man, mid- to late-30s, the writer of Springtime for Hitler. A Nazi who fled Bavaria following the fall of Hitler and the Third Reich near
the end of World War II, Franz dreams of one day glorifying his beloved dictator and showing the world that he is not as bad as they all think. An artist, he seeks
to achieve this by writing a musical in Hitlers honor, which is picked up by Max and Leo who seek to produce it. They view it as the worst show ever written, but
Franz is unaware of this and is merely thrilled at the prospect of restoring der Fhrers name. He is blatantly disparaging of cultures that are not German, and
must be convinced that all involved in the production of his show are actually believers in his cause. He eventually is cast as the star of his own show, but breaks
both legs and ends up in jail with Max and Leo, only to be released after some good behavior by writing Prisoners of Love.
Roger de Bris middle-aged theatrical director, Roger is a blatant homosexual who delights in all things joyous and gay. His directing style is light-hearted and
fun, and he finds heavy, dark, depressing theater very revolting. He is not known for being a high-quality musical director and is not very well-read or intelligent
(I didnt know the Third Reich meant Germany.), but is more than happy to put on a toe-tapping song and dance number. He is happy to put on a show in front
of a crowd individually, singing and dancing a very individualized performance of Adolf Hitler on the opening night of Springtime for Hitler. Roger does not
develop much over the course of this show, but is helplessly exploited by Maxs scheme to produce a terrible musical, which backfires as a result of Rogers
performance which is viewed as satirical. Rogers decision to direct is based on the success of a Tony and the chance to present history according to Roger de
Carmen Ghia younger gentleman, late-20s to mid-30s, Carmen is Rogers common-law assistant and assumed gay lover. The two share a relationship similar to
an average married couple, if you were you raise the sass-ometer by about 50. Carmen shares Rogers thoughts on the theater, and is always there to provide
assistance to his lover and help keep him organized, providing him with ideas and thoughts and acting as a sounding board for some of his ideas. Carmen also
does not develop much over the course of the show, but is also excited by the idea of a Tony and a gay production of Springtime for Hitler.
Hold Me-Touch Me One of Maxs old lady backers, this little old lady pays Max to roll around in the hay with her in her old age. Max begrudgingly participates,
and tries to get out of the dirty deed itself whenever he can, but since she has a lot of money to burn before she bites the dust, he obliges her.
Mr. Marks older gentleman, a gruff individual who delights in the misery of others, especially those over whom he can exercise power and demeaning
statements. Disparages Leo, but is in the end called a Certified Public A**hole in front of all his workers by Leo himself.

Rogers Production Team Rogers assortment of homosexual collaborators, these gentleman do everything to fit Mr. de Briss ideals and ideas for show
productions. They are almost completely subservient to his visions, as most of them share similar visions themselves.
Accountants at Whitehall and Marks miserable in their stations in life, these men are working dead-end jobs to make ends meet, all the while hating every
minute of it
Other assorted ensemble roles
Major Themes/Ideas
Overall Dramatic Arc while not thematically the most in-depth or ground-breaking show, the overall dramatic arc shows the development and
transformation of two leading characters, and how their interactions with each other and shared experiences have helped the other grow and shape into a
different, arguably better, person in the end, valuing the importance of a healthy friendship, self-respect, and just plain being there for someone
Concepts Covering the ideas of friendship and companionship, relating to and knowing someone on an intimate level, and how that can affect your
interactions and dealings in everyday life; ideas of dishonesty and betrayal and their negative consequences
Relevance nothing new, but the need to work with other people and having someone on whom you can depend and rely, having a special level of trust in
which you let down your defenses and can be yourself around them

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