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'The Producers' opens July 12 at The Phipps Center for the Arts

"The Producers," is about a scheming producer, Max Bialystock, (left, Bill Marshal of Minneapolis) and his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom (Brian Erdrich of Hudson), who discover that under the right circumstances they could make more money by producing a Broadway flop than they can with a hit.

"The Producers," an outrageous musical comedy, with music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, and the book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, will be performed July 12 through Aug. 4 at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

"The Producers" is the story of scheming producer Max Bialystock, played by Bill Marshal of Minneapolis, and his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom, played by Brian Erdrich of Hudson. Bloom discovers that under the right circumstances they could make more money producing a Broadway flop than they could with a hit. The two set out to produce the worst Broadway musical of all time.

With the help of Nathan Metcalf as the brawny, psychotic, Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind -- equipped with a helmet, lederhosen, and the perfect horrible play, "Springtime for Hitler" -- they produce their sure-to-offend musical, which becomes a surprise sensation.

They are met by a hilarious, motley crew of supporting characters: cross-dressing show director Roger De Bris, played by Mike Brown; his "common law assistant," Carmen Ghia, played by Jeremy Huff of Minneapolis; and the Swedish leading lady, Ulla, played by Heidi Hansen of Hudson.

The singing and dancing ensemble played by Chris Adam, Oakdale; Emily Gerde, River Falls; Gavin Germain, Somerset; Blaine Davidson, Jenni Derrick, Katy Hackworthy, Ruby Johnson, Madeline Leines, Tucker Millett, Patti O'Meara, Bjorn Saterbak, Travis Schultz, K.C. Shomas, Jordan Stewart, and Xander Toftness, all of Hudson, perform the over-the-top production numbers.

The production is directed by Rebecca Rizzio, Woodbury, who previously staged "Annie" and "White Christmas" for Lyric Arts, "The Miracle Worker" for The Phipps, "Nest" for Table Salt Productions, as well as "Girl Group" "The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women," and "Expecting Isabel" for Theatre Unbound, where she is a core company member.

Rizzio admits it is a challenging show. "This show is so iconic and well known, the expectations out there are endless, and I want to exceed those expectations," she claims.

Music director Alicia Naughton, Woodbury, was the composer and music director for "Alice in Wonderland," produced by The Phipps Children's Theater. She holds a bachelor's degree in choral music education as well as a minor in musical theater from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Choreographer Christina Leines, Hudson, performs and choreographs at various venues in the Twin Cities area, including the Bloomington Theatre and Art Center and The Phipps. For the past six years, she has been a dance instructor at The Phipps, teaching musical theater, tap, and jazz classes. She received her dance education from Broadway veterans Eddie and Kathy Gasper.

Twelve performances will be given July 12 through Aug. 4 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

This play contains situations and language which some may find offensive. Tickets are $24 for adults and $17 for students of all ages, with a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees. Discounts are also available by purchasing season tickets. Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at (715) 386-8409 or online at

Champagne brunch cruise and theater packages are available for the Sunday matinees. Reservations may be made by contacting Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines at (651) 436-8883 or online at

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604