A Year with the Producers: One Actor's Exhausting (But Worth It) Journey from Cats to Mel Brooks' Mega-Hit


In 2000, I was in the final cast of the original 18-year run of Cats on Broadway. When it was announced that we were closing I started looking for another job and landed the Original Broadway Cast of The Producers. I kept a journal throughout the entire process. Almost exactly one year. It was an amazing year to be sure, filled with successes, failures, and unforgettable experiences with some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Susan Stroman and of course, Mel Brooks just to name a few.

I wrote this book to give a behind-the-scenes look at what its like to be part of a Broadway show. It’s aimed not only at theatre students to give them a sense of what the world in NYC looks like, but also to lovers of Broadway to better appreciate all that happens before the curtain rises. Over the years, it has been adopted by many university professors and theatrical educators as part of their required reading, including those at Elon, Cincinnati Conservatory, UC Irvine and St
Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.

I hope you enjoy it.

“Jeffry Denman takes us on a delightful and insightful backstage tour of the Great White Way. His portraits of Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman are gems and add much to our understanding of how these towering creative talents work. How lucky for us that Mr. Denman is as fine a writer as he is a performer”

-Michael Riedel, New York Post

“Anyone who has been in an ensemble or an audition will recognize Jeff’s story. Anyone who has seen a Broadway show and wondered how it gets put together will enjoy the backstage view. Like everyone else in the theater, Jeff’s love of performing gets him onstage. I think that comes through in the pages that follow.”

-Matthew Broderick, from the Foreword