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'Producers' kicks off new ACT season

From left, Max Bialystock (played by Monty Bohrer) and Leo Blom (played by Connor Voeltz) discuss Bialystock's shady financial records during Tuesday night's rehearsal of "The Producers," which opens this weekend at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. (Candy DenOuden/Republic)

The show must go on — and it has.

Despite trouble tracking down dancers earlier this summer, the Mitchell Area Community Theatre's first show of its new season, "The Producers," opens this weekend.

"Things have gone very well over the last few weeks," play director Dan Miller told The Daily Republic via email. "We are still shy several people, but feel we have covered the best we can and can still deliver a wonderful theatrical event."

"The Producers" shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Aug. 15 and 16 and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 17 at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. Tickets are $12 or $14, depending on seats, and are available at 996-9137, or at the theater's box office. All seats are reserved.

Well-known in the theater community, "The Producers" is a musical comedy/satire by Mel Brooks, the Hollywood writer/director probably best known for films like "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein" and "Robin Hood Men in Tights."

The dark comedy, according to various website descriptions, tells the story of a downtrodden Broadway producer Max Bialystock and neurotic accountant Leo Bloom. The two team up to attempt a get-rich-quick scheme to put on the world's worst show. They seek to find the worst script, worst director and worst actors in town, then abscond with investors' surplus money after the show flops on opening night. The plan falters when their show, "Springtime for Hitler," turns into a hit.

Brooks' original version of "The Producers" was a 1968 film that he later adapted into a Broadway musical. Its Broadway stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, also starred in the 2005 film version.

The stage setup is unique for this show. Bialystock's office is built up and toward the back of the stage, and remains there throughout the show. The front of the stage remains open, and is where the song and dance numbers and other scenes take place.

"The play takes place over several locations, but always comes back to Max's office, which in itself goes through some changes," Miller said. "It was a challenge in many ways. ... The biggest two were that the stage is too small for what the play requires, and our limited budget prevented a lot of scenic elements, but because we are ingenious, imaginative people we have done the best with what we have."

Like many of Brooks' works, "The Producers" has some mature content and themes, and Miller said he would give it a PG-13 rating.

"I really do hope not to see anyone younger at the show as there is some risqué dialogue. And situations ... but all in good fun," he said.

The musical comedy kicks off this year's 2014-15 ACT show season, followed by "And Then There Were None" Oct. 3-5 and 10-12, "Scrooge! The Musical" on Dec. 4-7 and 11-14, "Rumors" on Feb. 27-28, March 1 and 6-8 and "Brigadoon" on May 1-3 and 8-10.