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Empire tunes up for musical

Hit musical The Producers arrives in the North East tomorrow. Mitya Underwood reports.

Hit musical The Producers arrives in the North East tomorrow. Mitya Underwood reports.

Starring Joe Pasquale, pictured, Russ Abbot and Cory English, hit show The Producers opens at the Sunderland Empire tomorrow.

In its first visit to the region after a triumphant run in London, the funny musical is part of the Empire's centenary year schedule.

Adapted by Mel Brooks from his 1968 film of the same name, it follows the amusing tale of down-on-his-luck theatrical producer Max Bialystock, played by Cory English, and his hapless accountant Leo Bloom, played by Pasquale.

Bialystock and Bloom hatch a plan to make big bucks by raising as much cash as possible to put on a show, Springtime for Hitler, which is doomed to failure so they can pocket the left-over pennies.

Speaking to the Chronicle about coming to the region, I'm A Celebrity... winner Pasquale, says: "I've been having so much fun with the show so far.

"There was no question of me not taking the part when I was asked. Any actor worth their salt wants to do a Mel Brooks show.

"I'm looking forward to coming to the Empire, I've been there many times. Audiences up there seem to give that little bit more.

"I always say that my favourite place to record a DVD of a stand-up would be there but I'm never allowed because it's too far away from the film producers in London.

"And working with Russ is great. It was seeing him on stage in 1984 that made me want to give up my job in a meat packing factory. Now I'm on the stage with him, it's great."

The original Broadway production of The Producers opened at the St James Theatre on April 19, 2001 and ran for more than 2,500 performances, closing earlier this year in April.

Abbot, who plays the world's worst director Roger BeBris and has taken on the role in place of fellow funnyman Peter Kay, is thrilled with his selection of co-stars.

He says: "Cory English is brilliant. He has an amazing talent which is the reason he got the part."

The show runs at the Sunderland Empire from tomorrow until Saturday, June 30.

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