It was another beautiful night at the Moonlight Ampitheater as Moonlight Stage Productions kicked-off what promises to be an amazing 39th season all under the direction of producing artistic director, Steve Glaudini.
If you know anything about Moonlight, you know it is that they consistently produce crowd pleasing productions, delivering Broadway quality shows for Southern California. This year they chose to open the season with, “The Producers,” a show that holds the record for most Tony Awards. The Mel Brooks classic comes to life on stage with the help of Jamie Torcellini (Max Bialystock) and Larry Raben (Leo Bloom) whose comedic timing is essential for the success of “The Producers” running through June 29th.
Moonlight’s production of “The Producers” is as close to Broadway as you can get in Southern California complete with actual Broadway national tour sets and costumes! The use of the national tour sets allows for a pretty elaborate scene to take place in Act II (no spoilers!).
You might think Nathan Lane himself is on stage the moment Jamie Torcellini (Max Bialystock) makes his entrance. The voice matching is so stunning you might not believe your eyes! I swear, I closed my eyes numerous times and its uncanny just how much their vocal patterns match. Torcellini is the loud comedic backbone of the show who, along with the mild Larry Raben (Leo Bloom), delivers a musical that he hopes will become the biggest flop in Broadway history. In true Mel Brooks fashion that is not exactly what happens as those plans go awry and all new troubles seem to envelope their lives.
Of course no show would be complete without the ensemble cast and featured actors. Katie Barna (Ulla) is perhaps the biggest stand-out in the production, and that is saying something considering so much stage time goes to the two main leads. “When You Got It, Flaunt It,” will have you entranced with the talents of Barna. Not only can she sing but the acting and dancing are top notch a real tour de force.
Moonlight staple Luke H. Jacobs (Franz Liebkind) brings levity with the addition of some bird friends in “In Old Bavaria,” a scene that has you wondering, “Should I really be laughing at this??
Perhaps one of the funnier and I’d say top numbers of Act I is “Keep it Gay,” where we are introduced to director Robert Debris (Josh Adamson) and his assistant Carmen Ghia (Max Cadillac). This number had the audience laughing throughout as the over the top spectacle of the song is full of surprises.
There were plenty of other moments in this production that really excelled but I would have to say that the exuberance of the cast really shown through the entirety of the production.
The show is definitely for the adults and is suggested for Mature Audiences only. There are a number of sexual jokes and situations sprinkled throughout the show. I commend Moonlight for producing such a fun show that for some might seem a little risqué. If the reaction from the audience Friday night was any indication it will be a great crowd pleaser for the Moonlight crowd!
Cast and Crew in Moonlight’s The Producers
Starring in the Moonlight production are two Broadway veterans who reunite on stage after their comedic romps in Moonlight’s 2013 “Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks’ other hit musical. As Max Bialystock, the Moonlight welcomes back Jamie Torcellini, whose Broadway credits include “Cats,” “Little Johnny Jones,” “Me and My Girl,” “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” “The Man of La Mancha,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and the original company of “Billy Elliot.” His Moonlight roles include Bill Snibson in “Me and My Girl,” Patsy in “Spamalot,” and Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.” Returning to the shoes of Leo Bloom will be Larry Raben, also the show’s director. Raben starred as Leo Bloom on Broadway and in the entire one-year-run in Las Vegas in 2007-2008. At The Moonlight, Raben helmed 2018’s hit Disney musical “Newsies,” and prior to that directed “Sunset Boulevard,” “Titanic,” and “Catch Me If You Can.” Raben and Torcellini chewed the scenery in Moonlight’s “Young Frankenstein” when Raben starred as Frederick with Torcellini as Igor. The pair received rave critical reviews.
Also featured in “The Producers” are Josh Adamson (Moonlight’s “Catch Me If You Can” and “Big Fish”) as flamboyant choreographer Roger DeBris. After appearing in Moonlight’s 2018 production of “Chicago” as Mary Sunshine, Luke Harvey Jacobs returns as Franz Liebkind, the playwright of “Springtime for Hitler.” As Carmen Ghia, Roger DeBris’ bizarre manservant, is Max Cadillac (Moonlight’s “Big Fish,” “The Music Man,” and “The Wizard of Oz”). Making her Moonlight debut as Ulla, the sexy, Swedish secretary of Max and Leo is Katie Barna. She comes to Moonlight after working with Music Theatre Wichita (“Big Fish” and “Hello, Dolly!”) and Music Theatre West (“Nice Work If You Can Get It” and “Catch Me If You Can”).
Rounding out the cast are Ellie Barrett, Nichole Beeks, Lucas Blankenhorn, Jake Bradford, Gerilyn Brault, Morgan Carberry, Matt Carvin, Brianna Cook, Deborah Fauerbach, Johnny Fletcher, Karla J. Franko, Devon Hunt, Brandon Taylor Jones, Samantha Roper, Simoné Sassudelli, and Andrea Williams.
Joining Raben on the creative team are Choreographer Karl Warden, Music Director and Conductor Lyndon Pugeda, Lighting Designer Jennifer Edwards, Sound Designer Jim Zadai, Costumers Carlotta Malone, Roz Lehman, and Renetta Lloyd, and Stage Manager Stanley D. Cohen.
“The Producers” features a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks. The Moonlight recommends “The Producers” for mature audiences only.
Single tickets for Moonlight Stage production of The Producers range from $17 – $57. There are discounts for Seniors and Students and military. For tickets contact The Moonlight Amphitheatre at 760-724-2110 or visit the Moonlight Stage Productions Ticket Website.
June 12- 29, 2019
Gates open at 6:30 p.m.
Curtain at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $17 – $57.
Moonlight Amphitheater Location
The Moonlight Amphitheatre is located at 1200 Vale Terrace Dr, Vista, CA 92084
Take the Civic Center Drive and exit off Highway 78, go north. Turn right on E Vista Way. Turn right on Vale Terrace. Continue on Vale Terrace about 1/2 mile and turn left into Brengle Terrace Park.
Parking at Moonlight Amphitheatre
There is free parking available at Brengle Terrace Park. Shuttle service is available for those who end up parking in the upper grass lot. The shuttle will begin running 2.5 hours before the show starts as well as after the show.
For more information and tickets call The Moonlight Amphitheatre at 760-724-2110 or visit The Moonlight Stage Production website.
Moonlight Stage Production Season 2019
MATILDA THE MUSICAL (July 17 – August 3, 2019), WEST SIDE STORY (August 14 – 31, 2019), and VICTOR/VICTORIA (September 11 – 28, 2019).