REVIEW: ‘Young Frankenstein,’ A Musical Reboot of Mel Brooks Screwball Comedy

Back in 2007, “Young Frankenstein” opened on Broadway to mixed reviews. Though the all-star cast included the likes of Roger Bart, Sutton Foster, Shuler Hensley, Andrea Martin and Megan Mullally, the new musical did not have the same commercial success as Mel Brooks previous record-breaking smash “The Producers.” Despite critics, “Young Frankenstein” remains a crowd-pleaser for fans of the 1974 blockbuster starring Gene Wilder.

010 Young Frankenstein produced by 3-D Theatricals

And what better way to celebrate the spookiest season than with a tale filled with hysteria, mad scientists, grave-robbers, resurrecting the dead and a green tinged monster?

3D-Theatricals “Young Frankenstein” certainly embraces the same slapstick shtick as the original motion picture, which translates triumphantly to the stage. In fact, the dry humor, exploited puns and sheer camp are amplified resulting in a richer, fuller and zanier story. Granted, everything is better with music and Brooks managed to write some catchy tunes including “The Brain,” “Please Don’t Touch Me,” “Roll in the Hay” and “He Vas My Boyfriend” for the musical reboot of his screwball comedy. Scene after scene, the audience laughed out loud watching the mayhem of a bunch of Transylvanian misfits unfold before their eyes.

006 Young Frankenstein produced by 3-D Theatricals

This over-the-top production also featured lots of tricks and treats such as opening credits projected on a scrim paying homage by recreating the look and feel of early sci-fi/horror films of the 1930’s. In addition, 3D-Theatricals went big and obtained the original Broadway sets and costumes courtesy of NETworks.

The stellar cast featured many familiar faces. One of them is Dino Nicandros, who takes on the role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein. After learning he has inherited his late grandfather, Victor von Frankenstein’s castle, Frederick must travel to Transylvania to take care of some important matters. Nicandros impresses again, but this time not only with his golden voice but his adept comedic performance. And even though Nicandros does not physically resemble Wilder, there were some familiarity between their mannerisms.

007 Young Frankenstein produced by 3-D TheatricalsOnce in Transylvania, Frederick is greeted by Igor (Erik Scott Romney) who happens to be the grandson of Victor von Frankenstein’s henchman and the two become inseparable. While en- route to the castle, Frederick hires laboratory assistant, Inga (Julia Aks). The multi-talented Aks delivered some of the best one-liners throughout the evening, but not even her sexy “woofs” could compare to her extraordinary vocals and insane yodeling skills.

At the castle, housekeeper (and former love interest of Victor) Frau Blücher (Tracy Rowe Mutz) welcomes the group. Mutz, who was last seen starring opposite Aks in 3DT’s Oklahoma! is an audience favorite and her performance as the mysterious housekeeper was no exception. In typical fashion she garnered some of the night’s biggest roars!

017 Young Frankenstein produced by 3-D Theatricals

With a little coaxing, Frederick soon agrees to join the family business and reanimate The Monster (Danny Blaylock). Both Nicandros and Blaylock share great on-stage chemistry and it doesn’t get any better than a rousing toe-tapping performance to Irving Berlin’s classic song “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Choreographer Daniel Smith does a fine job recreating Susan Stroman’s original moves for this number. This easily becomes one of my top-10 favorite musical moments ever!

And fighting for the title of “best scene stealer” are Ashley Fox Linton, who plays Frederick’s snooty fiancée Elizabeth and Richard Gould, who takes on both the Inspector and Hermit. Each knockabout performer give the perfect union of heart and humor in their big solos (“Deep Love” and “Please Send Me Someone”) respectively.

3D-Theatricals “Young Frankenstein” is by far one of the best screen-to-stage adaptations of all-time. From David Lamoureux’s impeccable stage direction to the resonating sounds of musical director Corey Hirsch to Denice Paxton’s thrilling monster makeup – the entire production comes alive for a hair-raising good time!

“Young Frankenstein” is opening at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on October 20, 2017 and will play through October 29, 2017. Tickets are available by calling the box off at (800) 300-4345 or Order Online.

019 Young Frankenstein produced by 3-D Theatricals

Photos courtesy of Caught in the Moment.com

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