Lancaster – The Ohio University Lancaster Theatre production of "The Producers" means something special to OUL Theatre Director A. Victor Jones. While every production means a lot to Jones, this one has something a bit more personal.
"I discovered the musical 'The Producers' while caring for my parents. They both loved musicals," said Jones. "My mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, particularly loved watching Mel Brooks' 'The Producers.' The music and comedy in the show put a smile on her face and joy in her heart."
"The Producers" is about a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and a scheme to make a lot of money by putting on the biggest flop in Broadway history.
"Sitting with my mother and watching the movie 'The Producers' will always be something that I'll remember," said Jones.
The OUL Theatre production of "The Producers" premieres during the Lancaster Festival on July 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. It is a community theatre production which means that actors who live in the region are participating in the production as well as Ohio University Lancaster students.
"This is OUL Theatre's third year being featured at the Lancaster Festival, and the cast, crew and orchestra are all working very hard to bring that same joy to the community that they experienced last year during our musical production of 'Chicago,'" said Jones.
The cast will be walking in the Lancaster Fourth of July Parade on Thursday. There are 34 actors in the production of 'The Producers,' six OUL Theatre Students, and 28 community members ranging in age from 14 to over 50 years old.
"This show is hands down the funniest thing you'll see all summer," said Mason Taylor, who is a junior at Ohio University Lancaster. "Victor Jones makes it a point to go after difficult productions. He continually tries to top himself every single time, and this is no exception."
"It's singing and dancing, and we're all happy, and it's a comedy," said Nicole Bishop, who is a graduate of Ohio University and is currently pursuing her Juris Doctor at Capital University Law School. "Victor just makes it really special for everybody.The fact that I get to keep coming back each summer to do this is really special."
"Victor Jones goes above and beyond anybody's expectations, and that's what makes him the great director he is," said Tyler Shahan, who is a graduate of Lancaster High School and will be attending Bowling Green State University this fall."He picks the show and you wonder, 'Oh My goodness, how are you going to do this?' and he pulls it off with such finesse that you're like 'Wow."
In addition to the actors, Jones is managing 14 orchestra members and 10 crew members to put on the production.He is also putting on a performance for the deaf community. Six Ohio University Lancaster Deaf Studies and Interpreting students will be translating the August 2 performance using American Sign Language.
"This is summer, you have free time, you don't have exams or all the classes," said Tylor. "So, with summer, everyone is doing this of their own free will. No one is doing it for credit.They are all doing it because they want to be there, and that carries across so much. It's such a family when you do a theatre production during the summer."
After the Lancaster Festival premiere, the play will be performed on August 1, 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. and August 4 at 2 p.m.