THE PRODUCERS Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Are you looking for serious comedy in the Bay Area? Have you not had a decent laugh since the networks cancelled GILLIGAN’S ISLAND? Is your IRA gathering less interest than you do at a clothing optional beach? Would even a hydraulic jack fail to lift your spirits? Is your home so far underwater that the realtor lists it as a four bedroom cistern or waterfront property, and uses a glass bottom boat to show it to potential buyers? If you answered “yes” to two or more of the preceding questions, you need the medicine of laughter; the antidote to fretting and strutting, you have to see THE PRODUCERS at the Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. Award winning director Bill Starr has crafted Mel Brooks’ zany comedy into a major riot; you will laugh until you re-open your liposuction scars. Bill has assembled a dream cast; watching the show, one would assume that this production is into its second year; it clicks like the bullet train that California has been waiting on for the last decade. Dan Demers (Max Bialystock) and Luke Chapman (Leo Bloom) are a comedy team right up there with Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Demers and Chapman are more than stage chemistry, we are talking nuclear fusion. Dan Demers is miraculous find; where, west of the Jersey shore, can you find an actor who can play a Manhattan Producer as well as the originals, Nathan Lane or Tony Danza, or even better than a Manhattan Producer? Luke Chapman, absolutely blooms on stage—the pun is both applicable and intentional; Chapman enters as a bumbling, mousey accountant and by the final curtain he is a roaring champion and an alpha male. Kate Paul, as the svelte Swede with the sesquipedalian moniker videlicet: Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson, is more than any married director could dream of: more height, more legs and more song and dance talent than you can squeeze under the stage lights. When Kate, as Ulla, performs "When You've Got It, Flaunt It," as her sizzling audition number for Max and Leo, every man in the house is subvocalizing, “Hire her, hire her, hire her.” Choreographer Gary Stanford violates all the Postulates of Euclidean Geometry; he does dance extravaganzas on the Hillbarn stage, with props, that some choreographers would not attempt on a football field. The outrageous creativity of Costume Designers Mae Heagerty-Matos and Shannon Maxham rivals anything you are going to see at BEACH BLANKET BABYLON or this year’s Bay-to-Breakers Race. THE PRODUCERS at the Hillbarn is major house entertainment quality at community theater prices and intimacy—when Ulla flaunts it, you don’t want to be in the balcony trying to focus your steamed up opera glasses. For an exuberant evening of laughter, call the box office at 650-349-6411 or surf on over to; you may have missed Sally Rand at the Music Box, you don’t want to miss Ulla at the Hillbarn.