“Producers” stars take a final bow

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick took their last bows Sunday night at the St. James Theater in New York.

Lane and Broderick, who have spent the last year starring in the Mel Brooks musical The Producers, are handing over their roles to Henry Goodman (Private Parts) and Steven Weber (TV’s Wings).

The Producers is based on a 1968 Brooks film about a ne’er-do-well Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Lane), and his self-effacing accountant, Leo Bloom (Broderick). The two swindle investors out of their money by raising more cash than they need for a sure-fire Broadway bomb–then pocket the difference.

A teary Lane and Broderick took their bows before a cheering crowd and remained silent when Brooks and director/choreographer Susan Stroman came on stage and presented them with bouquets of red roses, The Associated Press reports.

“We wanted to thank you for making us laugh for an entire year,” Stroman said, wishing them well on their new adventures.

Brooks yelled out, “Ditto.”

Broderick‘s wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, was in attendance at the Sunday matinee.

Lane and Broderick already have projects on the horizon. Lane will star in a CBS comedy called Life of the Party, while Broderick will star in a television version of The Music Man on ABC. Both were offered large sums of money to stay in the show, but both said no.

“The nature of acting is that you have to move on,” Broderick said in an interview. “At some point, you have to let these things go and, in a way, it’s nice to go when there’s still some energy left.”

The Producers has been an audience favorite since it opened to rave reviews in April 2001 and has been a continuous sellout since. The show won a record 12 Tony Awards last June, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Actor for Lane.

The original supporting cast members are staying in the show; Goodman and Weber, who signed nine-month contracts, will start March 19.