Premier: April 19, 2001 Theater: St. James Theater Music by: Mel Brooks Lyrics by: Mel Brooks Book by: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan Directed by: Susan Stroman Choreography by: Susan Stroman Produced by: Rocco Landesman, SFX Theatrical Group, The Frankel-Baruch-Viertel-Routh Group, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Rick Steiner, Robert F.X. Sillerman, and Mel Brooks
- "The King of Broadway" "We Can Do It" "I Wanna Be a Producer" "Keep it Gay" "When You Got It, Flaunt It" "That Face" "Springtime for Hitler"
Producer/director Mel Brooks took a real gamble when he adapted his 1968 cult film satire to the musical stage. The story was outrageous: flop-covered theatrical producer Max Bialystock realizes the road to his financial redemption lies in producing the worst musical ever written, raising 25,000 percent of the capital, and pocketing it all when the show is a one-night-only disaster. Aided and abetted by a nebbishy accountant named Leo Bloom, Bialystock options the rights to a “gay romp with Adolf and Eva in Berchtesgarten” called “Springtime for Hitler.” Of course, if the show, by some insane stretch of credulity, were to become a hit, Bialystock and Bloom would be thrown in jail. And that’s exactly what happens.
Starring two of Broadway’s best musical comedians, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, the show rocketed its way to Broadway (after a sell-out engagement in Chicago) with $17 million in advance sales — less than half of “Miss Saigon”‘s advance, but huge for a musical originating in America. Audiences were devastated with laughter and the critics were — to a man — rapturous. After its April 19, 2001 opening, the show quickly became not only the hottest ticket in town but also the hottest ticket in almost a decade. It won a record 12 Tony Awards, and when Lane and Broderick briefly returned to their roles in early 2004, they were the highest-paid performers in Broadway history. History repeats itself: the duo will also be starring in a film version of the musical.