PaliHi Excels with ‘The Producers’ (Video)


By Sue Pascoe

“The Producers,” which opened Oct. 5 at Palisades High School, is great entertainment with a highly talented cast that delivers an evening of delicious fun. 

The musical, with an orchestra under the direction of Elizabeth Stoyanovich and student director Ryan Kaltman, has a cast of 35 students and is directed by Nancy Fracchiolla.

The story is simple. Meek accountant Leopold Bloom (Charlie Hobert) makes an off-hand remark to bigger-than-life producer Max Bialystock (Ethan Jones) that one could make more money with a Broadway flop than with a hit.

The two become unlikely partners with the challenge of opening a sure-fire fail, which includes finding the worst script possible; a production helmed by an inept director; and a cast filled with artless actors (which is one reason the playwright becomes the actor).

Additionally, Max and Leopold’s plan is to offend everyone, ensuring the show closes after the opening night. Warning: if you are a “snowflake” or treasure “political correctness,” this show is not for you. But if you want to laugh out loud and spend a few hours forgetting the world around you, run to Mercer Hall. 

Luke Rosa, playing the crazy “German” playwright Franz Liebkind, is great. I laughed so hard during the pigeon scene—has to be seen to be believed.

He and Jenna Ross, who plays the “Swede” Ulla, worked with a dialect coach, and are absolutely believable in their diction.

Ross, the female lead, plays the sweet Swedish bombshell to perfection. Her outfit during the musical number “Springtime for Hitler” is unbelievably crass—but a close tie with the showgirl’s sausage skirt.

Hobert and Jones capably take the show to a high level. I laughed hard when producer Max Bialystock raises funds for the show by “accessing” his money line of one little old lady after another. The line of “seniors” dancing during the “walker” number is hysterical.

I was also impressed by the actors playing Roger De Bris (Riley Kershaw) and Carmen Gia (Jack Esner). Funny, funny, funny.

Kershaw, a PaliHi alum who has become a New York actor and voice-over artist, is the artist in residence for this production.

The talent in this cast was so vast that even those with smaller parts were exceptional such as Aidan Giannassi, Madison Levitt and Russell Cohen.

I also enjoyed watching several actors that I followed at Theatre Palisades Youth productions transition to PaliHi Drama, including Bella Dixon, Sophie Landau, Mia Ruhman and Chelsea Trotti.

Remaining show dates are October 12 at 7 p.m. and on October 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for students; $17 for general admission; and $20 for premiere, and can be purchased at the door or at (under Pali Things).


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