Meet the Artists

The Producers Cast

(click image to see artist bio)

The Producers
Creative Team


MEL BROOKS (Music and Lyrics, Book)Director, producer, writer and actor, Mel Brooks is the recipient of three 2001 Tony Awards (Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Musical) and two Grammy Awards (Best Musical Show Album and Best Long Form Music Video) for The Producers. Mr. Brooks began his distinguished career during television’s “Golden Age” as a writer for Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows in 1951. In 1955 and in 1957, Brooks received Emmy Award nominations (with others) for the best comedy writing for Caesar’s Hour, and in 1956 he was nominated (with others) for best writing for a variety or situation comedy. In 1952, Early Broadway credits include New Faces of 1952, Shinbone Alley, and All-American. In 1960 and 1961, Brooks and Reiner received Grammy Award nominations for the best spoken word comedy for 2000 Years and for best comedy performance for 2000 and One Years, respectively. In 1997, Brooks and Reiner teamed up again for The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000. Both a book and a CD were released, the CD winning a Grammy Award in 1998 for the best spoken word album: comedy. Brooks wrote and narrated The Critic, a short satire on avant-garde art films, which received the Academy Award for best animated short subject in 1964. In 1965, he teamed up with buck Henry and created the television show Get Smart. Brooks, along with others, received an Emmy Award for outstanding writing achievement in a comedy-variety in 1967 for The Sid Ceaser, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special. In 1968,he wrote and directed his first feature film, The Producers, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, which earned him an Academy Award for the best original screenplay written directly for the screen. He then went on to create a remarkable string of hit comedies including The Twelve Chairs; Blazing Saddles (Academy Award nomination – Best Music, Original Song); Young Frankenstein; Silent Movie; History of the World, Part 1; To Be or Not To Be; Spaceballs; Life Stinks; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Forthree successive seasons, Brooks won the Emmy Award for his role as Uncle Phil on Mad About You.

THOMAS MEEHAN (Book) received the Tony Award for co-writing the book for The Producers in 2001 and in 2003 for co-writing the book for Hairspray. He received his first Tony Award in 1977 for writing the book of Annie, which was his first Broadway show, and has since written the books for the musicals I Remember Mama, Ain’t Broadway Grand, and Annie Warbucks. In addition, he is a long-time contributor of humor to The New Yorker, an Emmy-Award winning writer of television comedy, and a collaborator on a number of screenplays, including Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs and To Be or Not To Be. Mr. Meehan is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild.

L. WALTER STEARNS (Director) As Executive Director of Mercury Theater Chicago, Walter is a champion for Chicago artists and productions and has overseen the physical and cultural revival of a beautiful theatre. He has directed over 30 musicals including his Jeff Award winning productions of The Addams Family and Ragtime as well as the Jeff Award nominated productions of Avenue Q, The Color Purple, Barnum-The Circus Musical, The Christmas Schooner, Nine the Musical, Ragtime, Gypsy, The Secret Garden, Sweeney Todd, Company, A New Brain, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along and Falsettos. Walter has received the Jeff Award,BroadwayWorld Award, After Dark Awards, the Larry Sloan Advocate Award (for his support of Season of Concern), the first Guy Adkins award for his contributions to the art of musical theatre and the Franny Award as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

EUGENE DIZON (Musical Director) last musical directed the 5th season of The Christmas Schooner and the Jeff award winning production of The Addams Family with Mercury Theater Chicago. Eugene has been musical directing for over two decades garnering 6 Jeff Awards (Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, Amadeus, Company, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along), as well as Jeff nominations for A Grand Night for Singing, Candide, Nine the Musical, Closer Than Ever, A Little Night Music, Passion, Colette Collage, and Falsettos; 4 After Dark Awards(Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, A New Brain, Merrily We Roll Along), a BroadwayWorld Award for Mercury’s Avenue Q and a BroadwayWorld nomination for The Color Purple. Eugene is honored to have beeninducted into the Chicago Filipino Hall of Fame. Eugene has co-produced 3 “Season of Carols” CD’s (with Cory Goodrich) which featured some of the brightest talent in Chicago theater today, for which Season of Concern awarded him the Larry Sloan Advocate Award (2013).

BRIGITTE DITMARS (Choreographer) is a Chicago area choreographer/director/ actor. Choreography credits include World on a String: Songs of Love and Loss (City LitTheatre); American Idiot (Northwestern University); Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Theater Wit); Carrie (Bailiwick Chicago); Hey! Dancin’! Hey! Musical! (FactoryTheatre); Improbable Frequency (Strawdog Theatre); Cinderella (Emerald City Theatre); Nunsense and Forever Plaid (Fox Valley Repertory); In Trousers (Porchlight Music Theatre). She has received Non-Equity Jeff Awards for her Choreography for Reefer Madness (Circle Theatre) and Pinafore! (Bailiwick Repertory) as well as two additional Jeff nominations for Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical (Hell In A Handbag Productions) and Camp Nimrod for Girls (Live Bait Theatre). This summer, she will choreograph Xanadu at American Theatre Company and will direct Rock of Ages at Timberlake Playhouse. Thank you to Walter, Eugene, and the entire Mercury Theater Chicago family.

FRANCES MAGGIO (Costume Design) is a Costume Designer based in Chicago. She is happy to be working with Mercury Theater Chicago again where she has designed The Color Purple (Jeff Nomination), and The Addams Family (Jeff Nomination Costume Design, Jeff Award for Production Musical Midsize). She has designed for many theaters in the area including Chicago Opera Theater, Court Theater, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Eclipse, Northlight, American Players Theater and Victory Gardens. Favorite productions include The Goat, or Who is Sylvia with Remy Bummpo (Jeff Award, Production Play), Do I Hear a Waltz with Theater at the Center and All My Sons with Milwaukee Rep. Recent films include Four Monologues directed by Brian Shawbased on text by Aram Saroyan, and The Photographist (post production) written and directed by David Tarletan. Frances is the head of the Costume Design program at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches Costume Design, Theater History and Collaboration and has designed over 25 productions. She is a member of The Costume Society of America and United Scenic Artists.

JEFFREY D. KMIEC (Scenic Design) is a Chicago-based scenic designer, whose local credits include: A Christmas Story, Les Misérables (2015 Jeff Award) (Paramount Theatre); Deathtrap, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Man of La Mancha (Marriott Theatre); Funnyman, The Commons of Pensacola, Tom Jones (Northlight); Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Double Trouble, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Sweeney Todd, Sondheim on Sondheim (Porchlight); Good Boys and True, Dividing the Estate, The Old Friends (Raven); Watch on the Rhine (The Artistic Home). Regional credits include: American Players, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare, Heritage Theatre Festival and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. Jeffrey received his MFA from the University of Virginia.

NICK BELLEY (Lighting Design) is elated to return to Mercury Theater Chicago. Previous Mercury credits: The Addams Family, Avenue Q and The Color Purple. Selected design credits include: Sirens of Song (Milwaukee Rep); Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children›s Theater); The Mojo and the Sayso (Theatre LILA); Cinderella: After the Ball (Marriott Theatre); Rent (Paramount Theatre); Qgents (Tour); The Snow, Holes, Stargirl, Spookley The Square Pumpkin (First Stage); Sondheim on Sondheim, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille and Pal Joey (Porchlight Music Theatre); Hank Williams: Lost Highway (American BluesTheater); Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs (Raven Theater). Nick is the designer for Illumination Sensation for the State Fair of Texas as well as having designed over a dozen shows for the Cedar Fair amusement parks across the country. www.nickbelley.com

MIKE ROSS (Sound Design) is an owner of Sound Production & Lighting LLC, a full service production, rental, and sales company. Mike / SPL has handled audio, video, and lighting production for clients across the country, ranging from corporate events for MillerCoors, Nike, The Chicago Bears, United, Volkswagen, The Chicago Consular Corps to national music acts, educational productions, and installations. Previous theatrical sound designs for Mercury Theater Chicago include The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, The Christmas Schooner (2011 thru 2015), The Addams Family, Avenue Q, The Color Purple, Barnum, and A Grand Night for Singing.Mike also served as the audio dept. heard for the Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet since 2012. For more information,please visit www.spl-design.com.

ROSS HOPPE (Video Content Producer) is a Chicago based scenic and video designer. His design credits include designs for City Lit Theater Company, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Crosstown Scenic, Mercury Theater Chicago, Porchlight Music Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, Stage B Theatre Company, and Urban Theater Chicago.  He is a project manager at Crosstown Scenic where he manages projects for many local and regional non-profit and commercial theatre companies, corporate events, and a variety of other performing arts and commercial clients.  Ross has a BFA in Scenic Design from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

KRISTI J. MARTENS* (Production Stage Manager) is happy to be back at Mercury Theater Chicago with The Producers after having the honor of being the PSM for The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, The Addams Family (Joseph Jefferson Award Winner – Production Musical Midsize), Avenue Q and The Color Purple. Someother theaters that she has worked at: Drury Lane Theater (Oakbrook Terrace), Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Goodman Theatre, The Royal George Theater, Drury Lane Evergreen Park, Drury Lane Water Tower, Fox Valley Repertory, Oak Park Festival Theater, Fulton Opera House (Lancaster, PA), Maine State Music Theater (Brunswick, ME), Theater at the Center (Munster, IN), Carousel Dinner Playhouse (Akron, OH), Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX). A proud Equity member for over 26 years, Kristi started stage managing with children’s theater. Enjoy!

DANIEL J. HANSON* (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to return to the Mercury! Previous Mercury credits include The Addams Family, Avenue Q and The Color Purple. Recent stage management credits include: Guys on Ice (Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee, WI); The Snow (First Stage, Milwaukee WI); Tosca (Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee, WI); Big Fish, All Shook Up (Theatre at the Center, Munster, IN); Christmas on the Air (Provision Theater, Chicago, IL). Some favorite stage management credits include A Year with Frog and Toad, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (Children‘s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN), To Kill a Mockingbird, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Park Square Theatre, St. Paul, MN); Queens of Burlesque (The History Theatre, St. Paul, MN); and Menopause the Musical (The Lab Theatre, Minneapolis, MN). Dan received his MFA in stage management from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.