Music & Lyrics By: Mel Brooks
Produced By: Sony BMG Masterworks
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Mel Brooks, master of comedy and satire, first introduced The Producers in movie format in 1968. The movie won an Oscar. Years later, Brooks banked off of that success, creating a Broadway musical based on the movie. It went on to win 12 Tony awards. But Mel Brooks didn’t stop there. He took his musical to the big screen, bringing many of the Tony-award winning actors with him to reprise their roles in The Producers: The Musical. Nathan Lane stars as Max Bialystock, a has-been theatrical producer who conspires with accountant Leo Bloom (played by Matthew Broderick) to intentionally produce a Broadway flop in order to rob investors out of millions of dollars.
Mel Brooks wrote the music and lyrics of The Producers Soundtrack and the lyrics are often times hilarious – raunchy and sometimes downright rude, but hilarious all the same. The movie has a PG-13 rating. I think the soundtrack deserves a warning on it – the lyrics are definitely not suited for children. The vocals on this soundtrack are fairly strong, with the exception of Matthew Broderick. Although he has a “pretty” voice, it’s not a strong, commanding voice. Now, in his defense, his character is supposed to be a somewhat geekish accountant type, but there are some tracks, such as I Wanna Be A Producer, which I believe lent to a stronger performance from the singer and fell short. Nathan Lane is perfectly cast as Max Bialystock and his vocal presence is powerful and commanding. Uma Thurman delivers an unexpectedly good vocal performance as Ulla. Will Ferrell’s performance as playwright Franz Leibkind was equally enjoyable. Even Mel Brooks himself finds his way into this musical, singing along with Nathan Lane in the track There’s Nothing Like A Show On Broadway.
However, without the visuals, The Producers Soundtrack falls short of the mark. True, the movie is a musical, but there are also choreographed dance numbers, quirky faces, motions – these all lend to the vocal performances and therefore are missed on the soundtrack. Whereas some soundtracks are good enough to stand alone, this is not the case with The Producers. Mel Brooks movies often require visuals to get the jokes across. See the movie, leave the soundtrack on the shelf.