The Producers: The Movie Musical

Almost 40 years after its original theatrical release, The Producers has returned to its roots on the big screen. Shot in NYC over a period of 60 days, the new movie musical sticks closely to the original formula with its elaborate costumes and production numbers. It also stars original Broadway headliners Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, and is choreographed and directed by Susan Stroman.


Stroman’s goal in translating her original Broadway choreography to film was “to maintain the comic elements of the numbers while presenting them in a way that was rich and grand,” she says. The film’s 300 dancers were pleased with her approach. “When you work in a setting where the director is also the choreographer, it’s amazing because a lot of directors don’t understand how dancing can portray and move along the storyline,” says dancer Joey Dowling. Dancer Sean van der Wilt shares Dowling’s admiration of Stroman’s approach to the jazz and tap choreography. “Susan was very particular in what she wanted, so we would do certain scenes over and over,” he says.


As a dancer in the Springtime for Hitler production number, van der Wilt worked hard to nail the precise, stiff movements of the Nazi storm trooper he portrayed. “I have a thrash funk style, so it was a challenge to pick up [this] style of character dancing,” he says.


The dancers’ efforts didn’t go unnoticed by Stroman. “The dancers are the backbone of any musical, and they make or break my musicals,” says Stroman, who was the chief honoree at this year’s Elan Awards in October.


As one of the holiday season’s most anticipated releases, the movie is almost assured bountiful box-office returns, but more than that, Dowling hopes the film will continue to create artistic opportunities for actors and dancers. “It’s great to see that Hollywood is getting a greater respect for films that feature song and dance,” she says.

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search