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ACT play needs dancers

So you think you can't dance?

The cast, crew and executives behind the Mitchell Area Community Theatre's upcoming show, "The Producers," say that might be OK.

Play director Dan Miller said the show needs an additional 20 dancers -- 10 men and 10 women, who can start immediately. If not enough people join the cast, it could push back the show's opening date.

People don't need to audition. If interested in a dancing part, Miller said to contact him by email at, to contact the ACT at 996-9137 or by email at, or show up at Sunday night's read-through, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre.

Miller called Sunday night's read-through the informative beginning of the process, when everyone will sit down together, read through the script, look at schedules and discuss the show's characters and direction.

If enough people show up by Sunday, the show dates -- now scheduled for the first two weekends in August -- will remain the same. If the additional dancers don't show up by Sunday, Miller and ACT Managing Director Megan Reimnitz said the show's opening date will be pushed back by one week.

"This is a very dance-heavy production," Miller said. "It's pivotal that we get this. If we can't find the people to do the show, we will be unable to produce the show."

Al Jacklin, who is a member of the ACT board of directors, said it's not as simple as bumping the show back a week. Moving the show, even a week, cuts into preparation time for the next ACT show this season -- "And Then There Were None," scheduled to open Oct. 3.

"We've really got a serious problem," Jacklin said.

It's serious, Jacklin said, not just for "The Producers." But, he noted a poor turnout for the first show of the season increases the burden on future plays.

"Musicals make us money. The opening musical makes us money to finance the rest of the plays of the season," Jacklin said. "The final musical gets us through the summer."

On the other hand, Miller said if more than 20 dancers show up, they will be able to divvy up the dance numbers -- there are about 20 in the show -- which will make it less of a time commitment for everyone involved.

Miller said some of the dances -- like the tap-dancing parts -- may require a lot of rehearsal, but people don't need to be professional dancers to get involved.

"Even with people who are novices at it, they can do well," he said.

Lack of awareness

Miller and Reimnitz said they have been surprised at the low interest.

"We thought we would have enough people come and audition for the show," Miller said. "I think because the unfamiliarity of this show, people are tentative to come out."

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

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, 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 Brooks later adapted into a much-acclaimed Broadway musical. Its Broadway stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, went on to star in the 2005 film version.

Reimnitz, who will play Ulla in the show, said if people are worried about wasting their time on a little-known show, they should still give "The Producers" a try. She said the show is funny, the music is catchy and she predicts people would enjoy the story line.

"It's one of the funniest musicals they could be a part of," Reimnitz said. "I think the cast would have a wonderful time."