Production brings family together
Judy Russell is positively beaming.
It’s not the sun. It’s the joy of seeing all three sons – Jon, Matt and Andrew – with their father Bill Russell, posing for pictures backstage Wednesday.
The Russell boys have “signed up” for performing and behind-the-scenes roles in the Mel Brooks’ smash hit musical comedy, The Producers.
The show runs July 26 to August 4.
This is the first time in more than a decade the entire family has worked together on a musical theatre production. Given each one’s busy personal and professional schedule, the reunion is a quite a feat.
“The last time we were all together for a musical theatre show was in 1995, in Jesus Christ Superstar,” said Judy. “The boys also appeared together in our Nutcracker in 1999 and 2001.”
Dance, drive, acting, ambition and performing talent run in the family. Education plays an important role too. Andrew is attending UNBC, Jon’s going to college in Vancouver (he’ll join the fold in P.G. after graduation.) Matt and wife Anna moved here from Vancouver. They are busy taking care of business and bookings for Enchainement Productions Inc. at the city-owned Prince George Playhouse.
“In The Producers, Jon plays a small part on stage and a bigger part off stage looking after the sound,” said Judy.
“I’m really proud of the boys,” added Bill, “especially for coming back here and getting together on this production.”
His character in the Mel Brooks’ musical is director Roger De Bris but Bill uses his creative talents in other ways too.
“I’m mostly in charge of designing and building the set and looking after the technical aspects of things,” he said.
The project has provided lots of quality time for the brothers.
“We’ve have a lot of fun together doing this,” said Matt who plays several roles including Scott the choreographer. “Really, we’re all just savouring the moment.”
Andrew portrays Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind, author of Springtime for Hitler. Jon plays The Stormtrooper, a cameo role in Springtime for Hitler. But his bigger role is being responsible for the sound.
Matt and Jon work side by side on the production with Bill in charge of creating the sets and special effects.
The Producers’ hilarious story centres around two theatrical producers Max Bilystock (Gil Botelho) and Leo Bloom (Owen Selkirk) who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop. Actor/singer Amanda Spurlock plays the role of “blonde bombshell” Ulla.
Judy Russell presents The Producers, a Mel Brooks musical and winner of the most Tony Awards ever including best musical.
The show runs July 26 to August 4. Evening shows are at 8 p.m. Prince George Playhouse.
Tickets are at Studio 2880.