David Engel, who stars as Roger DeBris in The Producers is thrilled to be back at Casa Mañana. He is even more excited to share the stage with John Treacy Egan (Max), Dan DeLuca (Leo), and Sean Patrick Doyle (Carmen Ghia). “Sean and I are playing opposite each other in this little skit. He and I know each other through La Cage Aux Folles. Coming from that to playing these outrageously over-the-top characters is two generations coming together and creating fireworks!”
Engel’s character is starkly unlike him, “I should hope I’m nothing like Roger DeBris! But I fear sometimes I may be as crazy and neurotic as he is.” For Engel, the easiest roles to play are those that are the most extreme and most unlike himself; it’s harder to go onstage and be natural. “I love being the antithesis of myself.”
As far as his favorite Mel Brooks movie goes, Young Frankenstein wins. “I am a huge old movie buff, and “Young Frank” totally nails the genre and then has that wacky, brilliant low-brow Mel Brooks sense of comedy that is just perfect for it.”
While DeBris is one of Engel’s favorite characters to play, he has also loved playing the parts of Bobby in Crazy for You, Jerry in The Full Monty, Gomez in The Addams Family, Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, and Harold Hill in The Music Man.
Returning to Fort Worth for the first time since 1995, Engel reminisces on the last time the original cast of Forever Plaid did a show together – which just happened to be under the dome. “I’m excited to be on this stage again and am thrilled that I only have to perform on three sides rather than all four!” Engel is happy to have local family and friends that make Fort Worth feel like home.
Finally, touching on current times, Engel offers, “Mel Brooks, and especially The Producers, is an equal-opportunity offender. No one is left unscathed and un-insulted, and you have to roll with it and understand Mel’s sense of comedy.”
The Producers opens next Saturday and runs June 1-9. Click here for tickets.
Photos: Musical Theatre West, 2009, By: Ambrose Martin