‘The Producers’ has got it all

If you offend easily, then be ready to be offended from here ‘til Tuesday.

But seriously, it’s Mel Brooks, whose claim to fame was offending as many groups as possible. So, really, if you are going to see Village Theatre’s musical comedy “The Producers,” be ready to laugh your tushie off.

This show is top-shelf good, a season closer and one of Village Theater’s biggest productions in 30 years. And it shows. It’s glitzy, campy and belly-laugh funny.

Where to begin?

There are flamboyant tap dance numbers, including one with grannies and walkers. There’s a sexy leading lady. There’s a zany plot and comical Nazis. There’s the completely wackadoodle Nick DeSantis.

And there’s lots of gay-ness. And, oh, my gosh, it is funny.

DeSantis plays Roger Debris, the director hired by two scheming producers for a show these producers are betting will be a total flop. Because, as the plot goes, by making a flop, these producers will earn more money than if the show is a hit.

DeSantis is introduced dressed as a duchess and leads the cast in “Keep it Gay.” It’s an over-the-top number that is simultaneously burlesque and Village People.

DeSantis goes on to save the day and belts out a boisterous and bodacious “Springtime For Hitler.”

This is the money song and dance number for the show and it’s wild, like ridiculous Nazis visiting Las Vegas who are then joined by members of Teatro Zin Zanni. I won’t even try to describe the set or the costumes; that would just ruin the fun (stage manager is Paulette Buse; costume shop manager is Cynthia Savage).

DeSantis is joined in this big number by the ensemble and by Ulla, the Swedish actress the producers have hired to be in their show and who, as it turns out, has a thing for one of the producers.

That producer is the geeky and hyperventilating Leo Bloom, an accountant by trade. He is being led around by the necktie by the lovable scoundrel Max Bialystock, who was once king of Broadway and who now only produces schlock, and now is in desperate need of a money-making hit— uh, flop.

The three actors cast in these roles were flawless: the statuesque Jessica Skerritt as Ulla, the spot on Brian Earp as Bloom and the talented Rich Gray as Bialystock, who kept the whole show high energy from start to finish.

Other standouts were Chris Ensweiler as Carmen Ghia and David Anthony Lewis making an incredible Village Theatre debut as crazy Nazi-loving Bavarian Franz Liebkind, whose number “Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop” with the dancing chickens — yes, that’s right — is camp taken to a whole ‘nother level.

The score throughout “The Producers” is brilliantly delivered by music directors Tim Symons and Bruce Monroe. The music and lyrics were written by Mel Brooks who somehow between all the big sound songs managed to sandwich in the lovely ballad, “That Face.”

And kudos to choreographer Kristin Holland: The dancing was seamless even when challenged by some, ahem, cumbersome costumes.

Artistic director Steve Tomkins said in his director’s notes that he might have been a bit out of his mind to take on such a huge show as “The Producers.” I too would call it crazy … crazy genius.

“The Producers” will be presented at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 7 p.m. on selected Sundays through July 29 at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett.

General admission starts at $38. Call 425-257-8600 or go to www.villagetheatre.org.

Herald staff

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