Fellow blogger Sarah Weinman writes:
Don’t know why it took me so long to read your piece about The Producers, but I agree wholeheartedly, and I enjoyed it immensely when I saw the original cast
back in June of 2001, I think, or at least 2 months after opening night, when Lane/Broderick et al were still relatively fresh in the roles.
I love musicals, and have ever since I was a child. I grew up on the stuff. But I’m decidedly uninterested in those made after about, oh, 1970 or so (and that includes most of Sondheim’s works), because so much
has been sacrificed in the name of glitzy production values, “Broadway voices” that aren’t even based on the style of old, and good, solid songwriting instead of this over-the-top stuff that Lloyd Webber and his
followers seem to specialize in. And that’s not bringing up the Disney adaptations or the rock-opera productions.
So I’m a complete reactionary and I’m proud of it, which was why I enjoyed THE PRODUCERS–it’s a throwback to those earlier days, when the jokes were broad, the sensibility all over the place, and the pace
absolutely madcap. Would it hold up if it had opened, say, in the 1950s? I doubt it. Compared to the way things are now, it’s wonderful. Compared to even some of the failures and flops of decades past, it probably would have been killed by the critics. Context is everything.
I always thought THE PRODUCERS was an anomaly. Was very glad it was a hit, but I didn’t see it inspiring a return to old-fashioned type musicals. It’s just too expensive to put such things on. So I’ll be sorry to see the show go, but I’m glad I saw it near the beginning, when there was much enthusiasm in the air.
Thanks, Sarah. Well said.