Are you, Sir, for The Producers?

Springtime with Hitler? Mayor James Collins is coping Photo: Martin Pierce

THE Cecilians’ press launch for ‘The Producers’  was eye-popping for Mayor James Collins, surrounded by ‘beads and feathers’ girls from the chorus. “My most enjoyable photo shoot yet,” joked the Limerick councillor, “just another Monday night in South’s Bar. I can’t wait for a couple of tourists to walk in.”

Ah, well. Cecilian Musical Society is going quare bold for this show. U15s can stay home roasting chestnuts by the fire. Just chestnuts, right?

Hold that sense of expectation for the decidedly adult staging of  Mel Brooks’ hysterical spoof against anti-semitism and showbiz charlatans. Book at from November 28 to December 1 for 8pm seats.

Society chairman Glenn Carr had a big welcome for interest expressed in this musical which had extraordinary success on screen. It won a dozen Tony awards on Broadway.

“Rehearsals started in the first week of September,” says Glenn (Levi in 2017’s ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’). “‘The Producers’ is amazing fun, it’s a different style of comedy that is vintage Mel Brooks so it is risqué and not for everybody – but elements of the humour are for everybody. And attitudes have changed.

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“We have an 11-piece band led by a musical director who is new to us, Michael Young. We are trying to look around and give opportunities to Limerick talent as well.”

Case in point here is the charismatic singer Dickie Donnelly in the lead role of flaky Broadway producer Max Bialystock, whom the musical society sourced from far away Birr. He’s a tonic in tuxedo, evident in his live duet with accountant Leopold Bloom/ Jason Ronan at this launch night. Several verses of ‘You Can Do It’ shook the chandeliers with fast, escalating harmonies that articulate Max’s avaricious need and Leopold’s fearfulness.

Old faithful Brian Henry plays Roger de Bris, “an unmitigated disaster of a director who is the producers’ first port of call because they are looking to create a flop.”

Brian promises unholy calamities in this political goosetepping farce for which the genius Brooks wrote the music and lyrics as well: “You know the expression ‘the line is there not to be crossed’?” Laughs. “Well, Mel Brooks’ line is somewhere else. This show is from the man who gave us ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’, my all time favourite. It is just brilliant.”

Tara Downes plays Ulla, blonde ambition for Broadway; James Malone is Carmen Ghia, Barry Danaher is Franz Liebkind.

Cecilian Musical Society, Wednesday 28 to  December 1.