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‘Producers’ tour ending

Two traveling companies of tuner grossed over $222 mil

NEW YORK — Max is gone, and soon Leo will be calling it quits, too.

Named after the lead characters in “The Producers,” Max and Leo are the first and second national touring companies of the Mel Brooks tuner that continues on Broadway.

The Max company launched in Pittsburgh in September 2002 and closed there in January. The Leo company, which kicked off in Boston in June 2003, shutters in Japan in July. Together, the two companies have played 221 touring weeks and grossed more than $222 million — which makes it a solid hit on the road but not a supersized one.

Although “The Producers” nabbed a record 12 Tony Awards and has set numerous B.O. records at the St. James Theater, the irreverent tuner that makes fun of drag queens and Nazis never reached the B.O. power of family fare like “Mamma Mia!” and “The Lion King.”

The original Gotham production has done more robust biz. Having played its 1,697th perf Wednesday, it recently passed the $220 million mark.

A third U.S. company of “The Producers” was slated to begin in September but has been postponed to 2006. The show’s producers cited the work skeds of Brooks and director Susan Stroman, which include the completion, promotion and release of the musical’s film version. It is skedded for a Christmas release.

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