I woke up yesterday morning intending–nay, expecting–to spend the day writing a piece for The Wall Street Journal about The Looney Tunes Golden Collection. Then, just as I was gearing up, the phone rang. It was my editor at the Journal.
“You know about The Producers?” he asked.
“Could you write something about it?
So Looney Tunes got put off until next week. Instead, I changed funny hats and wrote about The Producers. Here’s the lead:
The big news on Broadway is the announcement that Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, who created the roles of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in the musical-comedy version of Mel Brooks’ 1968 movie “The Producers,” will return to the show for 14 weeks starting Dec. 30. A year ago, that would have been news because “The Producers” was still Broadway’s hottest ticket, the musical everyone was talking about. Now, it’s news because “The Producers” is sorely in need of artificial respiration. Last week, it played to only 69% capacity.
Some observers blame the show’s decline on weak replacements for Messrs. Lane and Broderick, others on the fact that the best seats at the St. James Theatre are reserved for premium buyers willing to shell out a staggering $480 apiece. Both reasons are plausible, but neither quite hits the mark. The real reason why “The Producers” is sagging like a dowager’s bosom is that it, too, is out of date–albeit gloriously so….
Believe it or not, this one is available on “Opinion Journal,” the free page of the Journal‘s Web site. To read the whole thing, click here.