Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Springtime for Nazi humor (Mel Brooks and The Producers) with Broadway Maven (David Benkof

There are only TWO more FREE inaugural issues of The Broadway Maven’s Weekly Blast, which after March 1 will be free only once a month. Inaugural subscribers by the March 8 debut of the weekly paid Blast will get 25% off FOREVER (that’s $27 instead of $36.) Press HERE.

This week, the Broadway Maven Looks at Mel Brooks and Roy Lichtenstein:


The Wednesday, February 17 "History of Mel Brooks Part One—and Two” class from 8 pm to 10 pm ET looks at the nonagenarian Jewish funnyman’s lifetime of creative output: his television work, films (especially his triumphs The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein) and both his musical comedies (The Producers and Young Frankenstein).

If you’re coming to the Mel Brooks class, you might watch the following video to prepare:


Thursday, February 18’s Roy Lichtenstein 101 class at Noon ET explores the paintings of the Pop Art pioneer, especially his images drawn from romance and war comic books. Famous for his Ben Day dots mimicking low-end printing, Lichtenstein helped tease out the ways high and low culture are different - and the same.

• My YouTube channel contains one Mel Brooks and two different Roy Lichtenstein videos.

• This Weekly Blast looks at the question of using Nazis for laughs; RANTS about how the final moments of the extraordinary Come From Away hurt the show’s own well-deserved impact; and links to two YouTube GEMS: a 13-minute “Crash Course” on Broadway book musicals and my own video explaining Roy Lichtenstein’s well-known but perplexing painting “Step-On Can With Leg.”

Since we’ll be discussing The Producers in the Mel Brooks class on Wednesday, I thought I’d raise again one of the two most recurring disputes in my classes (the other is racial casting): Is it OK to laugh at Nazis?

A highlight of the 1967 movie, of course, is the production number “Springtime for Hitler” (see above), an over-the-top extravaganza that would warm the heart of any black/white/red-blooded Teutonic show tune queen.

But is it OK for us to laugh at Nazis? The question can be rather nuanced and even “meta.”