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Good ol' Buckethead

Here's who's not at the Pantages through Jan. 4.

June 26, 2003|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

Like a very important houseguest, "The Producers" is staying with us, at least until Jan. 4, at the Pantages Theatre. To "The Producers" I say, on behalf of our city, "Shalom."

To the rest of you (and you know who you are), just let's not say anything we're going to regret later. This is 2003, the Year of Looking at the Positive! Of course it would be nice if Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick were in the show, but they're not. Mr. Lane and Mr. Broderick, I am quite sure, meant in no way to insult the Los Angeles arts scene when they balked at starring in "The Producers" at the Pantages Theatre through Jan. 4.

In fact, I don't even know if they balked, and even if they did balk, I don't know what a person looks like when he is balking. Like, let's say I was in a room with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and I asked them if they wanted to be in "The Producers" at the Pantages through Jan. 4 and they balked to my face. I wouldn't even see this.

Besides, sources have told me "The Producers" is very tiring, particularly if you're actually on the stage and in the production night after night after night over a period of years. So maybe that's why Sir Lane and His Broderick-ness said no to being in "The Producers" at the Pantages through Jan. 4.

Now, several spies have informed me that they've seen a man looking very much like Nathan Lane on television recently. According to these insiders, Lane is playing a gay senator on a situation comedy called "Charlie Lawrence," which is airing on the television network CBS.

The plot thickens, because these same spies who've seen him on television figure Lane made repeated trips to Los Angeles in order to make "Charlie Lawrence." These reports, of course, are unconfirmed but if true would mean that Nathan Lane, after working tirelessly in "The Producers" on Broadway, did not want to come to Los Angeles with the show but did want to come to Los Angeles to make a situation comedy for a lot of money, money that would double and triple and possibly even quadruple if said situation comedy became a hit show.

So let's say all of that is true. Should we be insulted, as Angelenos? Should we take this to mean that Nathan Lane looks at Los Angeles as a place you go to to play a gay senator on TV and potentially quadruple your money, but not a place to star in "The Producers" at the Pantages through Jan. 4?

An argument could be made. But so too could an argument be made that Los Angeles often doesn't get Broadway stars to move with their big Broadway shows to Los Angeles for untold more months. Evidently, big Broadway actors look at L.A. as a place to go play a gay senator on TV and possibly quadruple your money, but feel a certain hinkiness when it comes to the performing and fine arts, including "The Producers" at the Pantages through Jan. 4.

So here we are left with Jason Alexander and Martin Short in the roles of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. But that is entirely the wrong way to put -- "left with" Jason Alexander and Martin Short. They are two fine and talented gentlemen, indeed.

It has been suggested by someone I know that Mr. Alexander must wallpaper his home with Krugerrand, for why else would he have followed up nine years as George on "Seinfeld" with a series of commercials for KFC, during the making of which he was likely asked, "Can you move the bucket closer to your head, Mr. Alexander?"

You can see where this kind of thinking leads one: New York gets Sen. Nathan Lane and His Broderick-ness, but bring "The Producers" to Los Angeles and we get old buckethead Alexander and Marty Short.

Now I want you to say those words out loud. See how you sound? Cranky, huh. Irritable. Over a play. With so many things in the world to worry about. So much suffering. And you're all worked up about who's not in a musical at the Pantages. Through Jan. 4.

Paul Brownfield can be contacted at paul.brownfield@latimes.com.

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