I stumbled upon this YouTube video (seemingly ripped from a VHS) of the documentary behind The Producers recording. I haven't seen it since it originally aired on PBS and it was such a delight to watch it again. The infectious enthusiasm emanating from Mel Brooks, Susan Stroman's eye and ear for detail from the booth, the larger-than-life performances—especially from the late Gary Beach, who nearly explodes out of the sound booth. The documentary really captures, I think much more than the subsequent movie, what was so special about Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and why that magic was so hard to replicate after they left the show. The score really hits a special place between originality and nostalgia and everyone involved in the recording session does a remarkable job of capturing it (all in one day!).
Something that jumped out to me was their recording date of March 11, 2001. Previews started 10 days later on March 21. I know they had the Chicago run to work out the kinks, but it shows a remarkable confidence in the material to record while still in rehearsals. (And just two weeks after closing in Chicago!) Another thing that I noticed over and over was how well music director/conductor Patrick S. Brady drilled that score into the cast. Clean cutoffs, perfect diction, expressive and supported singing all around. Very impressive to see an entire company so thoroughly prepared before the show even hit Broadway.
Anyways, link below for anyone who wants to take a trip down memory lane!