London Loves Nathan Lane in The Producers
The show opened Tuesday night to wild applause and Valentines from the normally staid British critics. (The Daily Telegraph called it "a glorious night of musical comedy at its most magnificent, spirit-lifting best.")
As for the never-staid Brooks, who attended the London premiere with his wife, The Graduate actress Anne Bancroft, he told the audience after the performance: "This is one of the best nights of my life. My first night with Anne was very good, too."
The veteran comedy writer, 78, added: "So much for British reserve – you should be arrested for disorderly conduct. ... I thank you London."
Lee Evans, who played Cameron Diaz's English-accented suitor in There's Something About Mary, plays Leo Bloom, the timid accountant that was Matthew Broderick's role on Broadway.
But the show belongs to Lane, 48, reprising his Tony-winning role when he was drafted last month after Dreyfuss, 57, withdrew from the physically demanding role. Lane is reportedly earning $100,000 a week for the rescue effort.
As Brooks told the crowd inside the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane – which included Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and author Jeffrey Archer – "Now this is a cast worth paying."