Cheeky, bawdy and utterly offensive in so many ways, Walnut Street Theatre’s The Producers gets top marks for being guaranteed to offend all ages, races, religions, sexes and beliefs. In fact, the show is all-inclusive in its discrimination — everyone gets his or her full dose, which is exactly how writers Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan pull it off.
The show is in great hands at the Walnut, where it can stretch to the epic proportions necessary to be utterly ridiculous in its numerous slurs. Ben Lipitz plays the spurious Broadway producer Max Bialystock, inflating the role with the great comic timing he last employed as Pumbaa in a national tour of The Lion King. Next to Max’s ill-placed bravado — despite his string of Broadway flops — Ben Dibble’s Leo Bloom is a twitchy, nervous mouse of an accountant, hired to keep Max’s books. When Leo discovers that theoretically, a producer could make serious money by raising funds from too many investors and then opening a bad Broadway show, Max swindles his clean-as-a-whistle accountant into cooking the books and being his partner as a producer. Just one caveat: The show has to fail, and miserably so, in order for the men to make any profit. If it succeeds, they both go to jail.