Six years ago, Nathan Lane went out of town with Mel Brooks, brainstorming gags for a Broadway adaptation of Brooks’s bad-taste comedy The Producers. Lane had been cast in the show as Max Bialystock, the unscrupulous impresario with dollar signs in his eyes, Brilliantine in his comb-over and disappointment in his heart. He and Brooks hung out, made each other laugh, had dinner together. All went swimmingly until Lane’s suggestions for the lyrics of Max’s big number, The King of Broadway, made his collaborator bristle. “The line was, ‘Who do you have to fuck to get a break in this town?'” recalls the 49-year-old Lane, stretched out on a sofa, looking pleasantly rumpled in sweater and slacks. “Mel was aghast. He said, ‘You can’t say that in a musical comedy!'” But the line went in, and never failed to raise the roof during the many hundreds of performances Lane gave in the show between April 2001 and December 2004. It has not survived in the upcoming film-of-the-musical-of-the-film – the song has been cut to shorten an already lengthy picture. But the question remains pertinent. Who does Nathan Lane have to screw to get a break in this town? Well, maybe… Read full this story
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