Mel Brooks had been approached for years with the idea of turning his successful 1968 film The Producers into a stage production, but the project didn’t come to fruition until 1998, when Brooks contacted writer Thomas Meehan to collaborate with him. Rehearsals began in 2000 for a February 2001 pre-Broadway trial run at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre, which quickly sold out and garnered rave reviews. Its Broadway opening, starring Matthew

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