I moved to Bend 20 years ago and one of the things I lamented most about leaving a big city was the lack of culture here. As in very few opportunities for music and zero in the way of art and theater. In recent years, however, we have had an explosion on the music scene, First Friday makes a good attempt with Art Walk and, most happily, it isn’t too hard to find a good play in town.
This fall Cat Call Productions brings us The Producers. This is the fourth year that they have brought a well-known production to the stage at the Tower Theatre. I found last year’s Chicago to be a bit disappointing, although it was well-received by the community. And I’m really glad it was. Not only because I think that art should be supported in Bend, but because its success most likely contributed to Cat Call doing it again this year.
So. The Producers. I had only seen the movie version with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick who, separately and together, are brilliant. How do you live up to that? As the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it and Cat Call does. Their rendition is hilarious, witty, smart and fun. The timing was spot-on and the singing displayed real talent. For a couple of hours I forgot that this was a local production (except when I recognized one of the actors from a local restaurant and an orchestra member as the father of a friend.) Speaking of orchestra, I think that having live music really makes a performance. It adds another layer of life and vibrance. This particular orchestra was wonderful.
If you don’t know the story, The Producers is about a producer (duh) who has fallen on hard times when he meets an accountant who has the idea that they can make more money with a play that flops miserably than one that succeeds greatly. They set off to produce a play with the sole purpose of making it so terrible that it will close on opening night. They hire the worst director, the worst actors and search for the worst play ever, believing they have scored when they find the gem titled “Springtime for Hitler.” It’s all downhill from there, or uphill as it may be, and the audience is taken along for the ride.
My tickets were free since the producers of this play wanted to get the word out about their job well done. After laughing and giggling for a full two-plus hours, I can tell you that it is worth the price of admission.
The Producers has two nights left – tonight and tomorrow – so jump at the chance to see hilarity in art form before it’s gone! I overheard one of the ushers say that last night’s audience wasn’t as enthusiastic as previous nights. I’m not sure why this is, but go and give them a proper send-off and let them know how much we appreciate theater in Bend.
Tickets can be purchased at the Tower Theatre.