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 Broderick and Nathan Lane as Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock, won an unprecedented 12 Tony awards -- one in every single category for which it was

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