Although I have driven past "The Barn" theatre in Mission, Kansas, on numerous occasions, this past Saturday night was the first opportunity that I had to enjoy one of their productions. My son, Tim (who lives near the theatre) and I were in the audience for the opening night presentation of "The Producers," a comedy that Mel Brooks wrote for film in the 1960's and was transformed to an actual stage musical several decades later.
The story centers on a washed-up Broadway producer and a struggling young accountant who team up to run a con and make some easy money. They determine to produce the worst show in the history of the theatre so that they can close after opening night and make off with all of the money that investors had poured into their production. To accomplish their goal, the two find the worst script imaginable ("Springtime for Hitler"), an awful director, and a marginal cast. A big kink in their plans develops when the show inexplicably is declared a hit by the critics.
While the material of this show-within-a-show could easily be seen as offensive, ribald humor wins the day. The Nazi playwright even comes across as tolerably likable. The Third Reich laugh lines, gay innuendo, and show business humor all come together in a wild weave of irrepressible comedy.
The Barn Players have an exceptional cast in this show. Everyone on the stage is skilled in the crafts of of acting and belting out songs. The sets are artistic, yet simple and functional, and the costumes are memorable - often glitzy and flamboyant. With all of that playing across the humor of Mel Brooks, it would be very hard not to enjoy "The Producers," on stage at the Barn Theatre in Mission, Kansas.
Catch it if you can: November 6 - 22. (www.thebarnplayers.org)
I will definitely be in the audience for some of their future productions!