The hit Broadway musical The Producers is headed into enemy territory.
Believe it or not, Mel Brooks 's multiple Tony-winning show is going to be produced in Germany and Austria, the former Third Reich.
Brooks told me last night, "We've received a good offer from Germany from a producer to put on the show."
He also confirmed that The Producers is headed to Vienna as well. Andrew Braunsberg, the British-born producer of Dance of the Vampires , currently in previews on Broadway but a smash in Vienna earlier this year, is said to be on the team there.
Ironically, the film version of The Producers, made in 1968 and starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder , has been banned in Germany under anti-Nazi laws ever since it debuted.
In particular, the movie's — and now the musical's — centerpiece, "Springtime for Hitler," caused the ruckus. But I've no doubt that the portrayal of a bumbling, idiotic, bird-keeping Führer is something that should have Hitler's countrymen either up in arms or rolling in the aisles.
Another Brooks movie, History of the World, Part I , was also banned in Germany because of a number called "Hitler Rap."
Meanwhile, a Los Angeles edition of The Producers — which is still sold out in New York — is shaping up. Jason Alexander and Martin Short will head that cast and eventually take the show to cities across the country.
It hasn't been a great year for Eddie Murphy. First there was the debacle of Pluto Nash. Now today comes I Spy .
Nash is notable for being a total all-out bomb. After costing at least $100 million to make, the sci-fi adventure took in about $5 million worldwide when it was released this summer.
Unfortunately for the talented Murphy, this is something of a trend. His previous film, Showtime, grossed around $37 million, but cost at least $85 million to put in theaters.
Does anyone want to see an Eddie Murphy movie? Ironically, children do. I say "ironically" because Murphy used to do a wicked parody of Mr. Rogers on Saturday Night Live. But he's fared better with Dr. Doolittle and The Nutty Professor than with adult fare.
Case in point: Sony/Columbia is bracing for bad reviews today on I Spy — a movie mostly loathed by critics, even the junket kind, who are more or less paid to see films. So that will be one more Murphy movie in the dead-video pile at your local Blockbuster (Metro, Holy Man, Vampire in Brooklyn anyone?)
Dominic Chianese, the actor who plays Uncle Junior on The Sopranos , was picked up by the New York City Police Department on Wednesday night. Let me explain.
Chianese is currently starring with Al Pacino, Charles Durning, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi in the The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui . This is way downtown at the Pace University Theatre near the Brooklyn Bridge. There are only 600 seats in the theatre and none of the usual cab traffic that exists in the Broadway theater district.
When Chianese came out of the theater Wednesday night, he was swamped by fans, so much so that he couldn't get out of the crowd.
Film producer Beverly Camhe was supposed to meet him at the backstage entrance to go on to dinner, but when she got there, she says, the situation was impossible.
"A police car came along and asked if we needed a lift. We told him we're going to Elaine's. They said they couldn't take us that far, but they'd deliver us to a street where we could get a cab."
When they got to the next busy cross-section, the cop who wasn't driving hopped out and flagged down an empty cab, who no doubt panicked at first until he realized what was going on.
Arturo Ui, by the way, has been such a hit that there is now talk of transferring it to Broadway after the first of the year. This run ends Nov. 11, and then Pacino heads into a monthlong production of Salome. But backers have shown up and are begging him to re-stage the show.
All this is great news for Tony Randall, whose National Actors Theatre is putting on Arturo Ui . Randall is said to be quite a show-stopper in his five-minute cameo as well.
There were big Halloween parties scheduled for last night in Manhattan, especially the ones at the new Establishment Hotel in the theater district and another one, to benefit something vaguely called "Children's Rights," at the Cipriani party space on East 42nd St.
But up at Elaine's, it was business as usual. You may wonder what the fashionable editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair wears on such an occasion. He came to the restaurant on the late side, with his much-talked-about younger girlfriend Samantha Boardman.
Graydon Carter sported burnt orange-colored jeans of some kind, a blue Oxford shirt with tail hanging out. A tall man, he seemed to be having trouble remaining entirely vertical, possibly due to a back injury. His blond hair, as usual, was spread in wing-like formation à la Marlo Thomas in the drawing of her in the opening of That Girl .
"What's the outfit supposed to be?" I asked him.
"I'm dressed as ... Ron Delsener ," Carter replied. He was referring to the legendary rock promoter, who was seated at the next table wearing a full-length coat that suggested either Sergeant Pepper or a doorman.
At the next table, popular local Fox newsman John Roland was celebrating his return to the air after a bad bout with diverticulitis. He looked rosy-cheeked and ready to roll, along with a fellow anchorman from a rival station, Marvin Scott .
Elsewhere in Elaine's, producer Marty Bregman, actress/performer Polly Bergen, publicist Gary Springer with some Norwegian film makers, "Grammy" producer Pierre Cossette with New York TV and radio personality Mark Simone and entrepreneur William Fugazy, "Barnum" Broadway producer Judy Gordon, attorney/writer Sidney Zion, best-selling mystery writer Carol Higgins Clark with pal Lauren Howard, Michael Skakel defense attorney Mickey Sherman and the aforementioned Brookses.
The spirit of Neal Travis hovered above us. Trick or treat? Neal would have chosen the latter.