January 26, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

The Producers

Mel Brooks puts on the show of shows

The classy class of Broadway 2001 includes productions from Stoppard, Coward … and the man behind the fart scene in Blazing Saddles. Mel Brooks is mounting a musical version of his 1968 comedy The Producers, with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick leading the swasti-kicklines as a theatrical duo planning a surefire flop (Springtime for Hitler) to bilk investors. Teaming with Contact’s Tony award-winning choreographer-director Susan Stroman, Brooks has written 17 new songs and set the play in 1958 — nixing Swedish secretary Ulla’s go-go-ing. ”It was a little ’60s,” says Broderick, ”her dancing and shaking her ass all the time.” But a good Luftwaffe joke never gets old. (Opens April 19)

New Faces Campion & Hill

A.K.A. Sean Campion and Conleth Hill WHERE YOU’VE SEEN THEM Chances are you haven’t, unless you follow Irish and English repertory theater. COMING SOON The Broadway debut of their tragicomic London hit Stones in His Pockets, in which the boys become 15 different characters with astonishing and hilarious dexterity — they play two extras on the set of a movie shooting in rural Ireland, as well as a company of Hollywood types who’ve rolled into town to exploit the locals. HOW IT HAPPENED Irish actress Marie Jones wrote the play for a full cast, but a minuscule budget led to a two-man troupe. WHO’S HIGH ON IT Celebs venturing backstage with kudos have included Rod Steiger, Morgan Freeman, Donald Sutherland, Mel Brooks, and Maggie Smith. BEST THING ABOUT BROADWAY ”The show times are spaced a lot better for us,” says Campion (left), who’s used to matinee and evening shows much closer together. ”It’s gonna be like being on holiday, for God’s sake.” (Previews start on March 23.)

You May Like