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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 08:36 GMT
West End goes wild for Producers
Nathan Lane (left) and Lee Evans in The Producers
Nathan Lane (left) and Lee Evans are the stars of The Producers
US musical The Producers got a rapturous reception on its opening night in London's West End on Tuesday.

It was Broadway's biggest recent hit and stars Lee Evans and Nathan Lane for its London run. Lane replaced actor Richard Dreyfuss at the last minute.

Creator and director Mel Brooks told the Theatre Royal crowd: "So much for British reserve, you people should be arrested for disorderly conduct."

Stars including actress Barbara Windsor and singer Elaine Paige attended.

Brooks went on stage to take the standing ovation with the actors and thank the crowd.

Lee Evans in The Producers
Before the show I was trying to get my nerves sorted but it's impossible
Lee Evans
"This is one of the best nights of my life," he said. "This is a cast worth paying, I'm telling you.

"They are so damned good, this ensemble. All of them are exceptionally gifted and talented people, and I thank them."

Evans, known as a zany stand-up comedian and star of films including Mouse Hunt and The Martins, said he suffered from opening night nerves.

"The pressure is on really and before the show, I was trying to get my nerves sorted but it's impossible," he said.

"I've been working with everybody for six weeks getting everything right and this is the big moment. One mess-up and I've let everyone down."

The Producers began as a 1968 movie before being adapted for the stage and winning a record 12 Tony Awards - Broadway's biggest prizes - in 2001.

It starred Lane and Hollywood actor Matthew Broderick at that time - and the pair are now also heading for a movie remake.

Lane stepped into the West End role just days before previews were due to begin in October after Dreyfuss had injuries that made it difficult "to fulfil the rigours of the role".

TV presenters Esther Rantzen and Bruce Forsyth, comedians Paul O'Grady and Jack Dee and composer Lord Lloyd-Webber were also in the audience on Tuesday.

The Producers wins praise on its star-studded opening

Review: The Producers
10 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Press reviews: The Producers
10 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Getting The Producers to the West End
09 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Dreyfuss pulls out of Producers
19 Oct 04 |  Entertainment
Producers await Germans' reaction
02 Feb 04 |  Entertainment
Producers bound for film re-make
06 Jan 04 |  Entertainment
Musical makes Broadway history
04 Jun 01 |  Entertainment

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