UK Student Life homepage
Study, work or travel in the UK. British culture and life.
A-Z index
Message Board
Contact us
< Up
Life / Entertainment / Theatre / Producers
Guide to the musical "The Producers"
  Main characters
  Story outline
  Mel Brooks
  The film
  Vocabulary / background notes
  Further information


A guide to the musical "The Producers". The London opening was at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 9 November 2004. Prior to this it was a Broadway hit, winning a record 12 Tony Awards.

To book tickets for this show, click here

The musical is performed at the
Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Cory English (Max, left) and
Reece Shearsmith (Leo, right)

Back to top


Max Bialystock
: a Broadway producer
Leo Bloom: Max's accountant (working for a company called Whitehall and Marks)
Ulla: an attractive Swedish lady who becomes Max's secretary/receptionist
Franz Liebkind: a neo-Nazi living in New York
Roger DeBris: a gay theatrical director
Carmen Ghia: Roger's assistant

Back to top


The story is set in New York in 1959. Max has just had a flop ("Funny Boy" based on Hamlet). Accountant Leo notices that Max made a small profit and speculates that a lot of money could be made by over-raising money for a flop on which little was spent. Max falls in love with the idea, and draws Leo into a plot to do this. They find a story called "Springtime for Hitler" which they feel will offend practically everybody, and hire a director to make an outrageous version. Max raises the money by romancing elderly female investors.

Back to top


The songs during the musical are as follows:
1. Overture ; 2. Opening Night ; 3. The King of Broadway ; 4. We Can Do It ; 5. I Wanna Be A Producer ; 6. In Old Bavaria ; 7. Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop ; 8. Keep It Gay ; 9. When You Got It, Flaunt It ; 10. Along Came Bialy ; 11. That Face ; 12. Haben Sie gehört das Deutsche band? ; 13. Opening Night! (Reprise) ; 14. You Never Say Good Luck On Opening Night ; 15. Springtime for Hitler ; 16. Where Did We Go Right? ; 17. Betrayed ; 18. 'Til Him ; 19. Prisoners of Love (Leo & Max) ; 20. Goodbye!

The Producers [Soundtrack]
Original Broadway Cast (CD)
Label: Sony Classics
Date: October 2004
The Producers [Soundtrack]
Film Soundtrack (CD)
Label: Sony Classics
Date: November 2005

Back to top


The words and music are by Mel Brooks.

The Producers: The Book, Lyrics and Story Behind the Biggest Hit in Broadway History - How We Did It
Authors: Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan
Publisher: Miramax Books
Date: December 2002

Back to top


Two film versions of The Producers have been made. Mel Brooks wrote the original 1968 film, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder: this was a non-musical version of the story which won an Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. The Broadway musical, written with the help of Tom Meehan, was made into a film in 2005.

The Producers Special Edition [1967]
Studio: Momentum Pictures Home Ent
Date: October 2004

The Producers [2005]
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent. UK
Date: April 24 2006

Back to top


Below are some explanations of language used during the musical. If your first language is not English you may find it helpful to study these expressions before watching the musical:

The first performance of a show is on its opening night.
Broadway is a street in New York City which is famous for having a lot of top theatres.
The word gay has two meanings: happy or homosexual.
A gala is a special occasion with a lot of entertainment performances.
If you are a star you may have your name in lights.
If you need money for a show you raise it from backers or investors.
A cheque (or check in American English) is a paper form used to make a payment from a bank account.
A problem with the accounts may be called a discrepancy.
The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is the US government agency which is responsible for tax collection.
A CPA is a Certified Public Accountant - the title of a qualified accountant in the US
If you have got something special (eg good looks) and show it off to other people you flaunt it.
If a show is not successful it is called a flop. If it is successful it is a hit.
Bavaria is a mountainous region in southern Germany.
The regional dress for men are leather trousers known as Lederhosen.
The private army of the German Nazi party were known as brownshirts.
Adolf Hitler was known as the Führer (the German word for leader). He called his empire the Third Reich.
German expressions: Guten Tag (good day); eins, zwei, drei (one, two, three); tanzen und trinken (dance and drink)
A swastika is a type of cross used as a symbol by the Nazi party.
If a man is in drag he is wearing women's clothes.
If something is not my cup of tea it means I don't like it.
If you believe that you are becoming too involved in something you are getting in too deep.
A Tony is a top theatrical award for Broadway theatre productions.
a standing ovation
a little old lady

Haben Sie gehort das deutsche Band?
break a leg
Deutschland is the German word for Germany.
The British leader in World War Two was Churchill, the Americans were led by Roosevelt and the Russians by Stalin.
To turn yourself in
Alliteration ("this crazy Kraut is crackers")
Killarney is a town in Ireland.
The Bronx
A hillbilly
A state penitentiary

Back to top


English: If you are not a native English speaker you may not understand all of the jokes and the words of the songs, but you should be able to follow the story and enjoy the music and the visual jokes.
Age: Suitable for adults.
Warnings: There are some mild sexual references. It pokes fun at many groups and stereotypes, so it is possible that some people may find it offensive (in particular, some may consider making jokes about Hitler to be inappropriate).
Music: There are lively songs throughout most of the performance.

Back to top


The official website for this show is:

Back to top


British comedy: Life/Entertainment/Comedy
British theatre: Life/Entertainment/Theatre
British music: Britain/Music
Events in the UK: Ideas/Events

Home page: Home

Back to top

© UK Student Life 2002-2009

* Search this website ( or the web: