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Musical theatre: The tills are alive

May 2, 2013

IN MEL BROOKS?S film ?The Producers?, two men plot to make a fortune from a flop. They raise more money than they need to stage a musical, by selling all the shares in it several times over. Then they try to make the worst show ever: ?Springtime for Hitler?. They assume it will close in a night and they will be able to abscond with the cash, since no investor will demand a cut of non-existent profits. To their horror, the audience loves it.Musicals are risky in real life, too. So when David Geffen, a showbiz mogul, approached Mr Brooks about turning his movie into a musical over a decade ago, Mr Brooks dragged his feet. Mr Geffen tried to convince him it was worth the hassle: he had made more money on the musical ?Cats? than on any film he had ever made. This helped win over Mr Brooks, says Alan Schwartz, his lawyer. They put ?The Producers? on Broadway (see picture). Mr Brooks made a packet.
?You can?t make a living, but you can make a killing,? goes the Broadway...

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