Mel Brooks’s ‘Nazis’ March On Berlin

By Nathan Burstein

Published April 15, 2009, issue of April 24, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A Berlin theater that once housed a special viewing box for Hitler is getting ready to mock the Nazi dictator with the first German staging of “The Producers.”

The historic Admiralspalast Theater, where Hitler once watched “The Merry Widow” from a custom-built Fuhrerloge, will raise the curtain on the Mel Brooks comedy May 15. The production, based on the 1968 movie and 2001 Broadway musical, will feature actors singing and dancing in Nazi uniforms, and includes a buffoonish onstage Hitler declaring: “Heil myself. Heil to me.”

Remake: The first German staging of Mel Brooks’s ‘The Producers’ will debut in Berlin next month.
OLIVER HADJI
Remake: The first German staging of Mel Brooks’s ‘The Producers’ will debut in Berlin next month.

Although “The Producers” was licensed to a different German theater company several years ago, audience members at the Berlin theater won’t be the first German speakers to see the play performed in their native language. The show, about two Jewish producers hoping to create a theatrical flop about the Third Reich, debuted at Vienna’s Rodemacher theater last summer, and had a successful seven-month run. The cast from that show will travel to Berlin for the new staging, which is currently scheduled for a two-month run in the Admiralspalast’s main theater, a 1,756-seater.

As a historical statement, the Admiralspalast is “the perfect place to show this piece,” Lone Bech, a publicist for the theater, told The Shmooze in a phone interview from Berlin. “What other place could be more appropriate?”

Despite coverage of the show in local newspapers, not all Berliners have been clued in to its comic nature, Bech said. City police have received a number of complaints about posters for the production, which “provoked associations with the Nazis” despite the fact that swastikas have been replaced with images of pretzels in order to conform to German law. (Swastikas can be used onstage as part of an “artistic statement,” Bech said, but not as part of the show’s promotional materials.)

According to Bech, tickets for the production are selling “slower than we were expecting, but they have become slower with every production, because of the general [economic] crisis. We are sure sales will pick up once people read the reviews.”

The organizers are also hoping to persuade Brooks to attend the premiere. The theater has enlisted the help of Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit in its outreach efforts to the comedian, but Bech said that Brooks’s arrival currently is “unconfirmed.” “We’re hoping he would come, and we would do anything to make it a comfortable stay in Berlin,” she said. “It would be a great honor.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.