Theater: Better Than The Producers

Sure, we love Mel Brooks' hit. But three more modest musicals provide a different kind of thrill

A strange fever has gripped the New York theater world. It's called The Producers. Mel Brooks' smash Broadway musical reduced even the hardest-boiled critics to Jell-O, snagged every Tony Award in sight, and doesn't have a good seat left until the end of the Bush Administration. It's the musical theater's Second Coming.

Not quite. The Producers is a lot of very good things (We love you, Mel!) but adventurous and groundbreaking are not among them. That old Broadway dazzle is fine, but musicals can also provoke us, engage us in fresh ways, push the boundaries of the form. For that you...

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