Monday, November 03, 2008

Young Frankenstein

PLEASE VOTE. Though it would make perfect sense to write about Election Day Eve, I have one more play to write about before I leave New York City to return to Los Angeles for the election night party, and the monster is Young Frankenstein.

Look, I just went because it was a family thing. Two kids coming, one nine and one ten years old.

What do you take these boys to see? Mary Poppins? They had no interest. Spamalot? The parents had already seen it. Billy Elliot? But wouldn’t that look like I was pushing ballet on the boys?

Halloween weekend, Young Frankenstein it is!

Because of the New York Marathon, no one was in town so getting tickets at TKTS was a breeze.

Oh Readers! Young Frankenstein was hilarious. So much better than The Producers, which I experienced as pure pain.

Susan Stroman directed the scary hell out of it. There were physical bits that worked exceptionally well, including physical comedy that tickled one into tears.

The biggest comic role, Igor, was played by Christopher Fitzgerald with a perfect touch and like the rest of the cast, not as an imitation of the original actors from the movie.

Roger Bart as Dr. Frankenstein was perfectly pleasing. I actually worked with him years ago. He was a pleasant chap then and a highly watchable one now. He had such long cool hair when we were in our twenties. Easy going, breezy guy.

Beth Leavel as Frau Bucher hit the right notes. Kelly Sullivan as Inga did what she could with the role. Michele Ragusa stayed so far away from Madeline Kahn in this characterization, you wish she hadn’t.

An added bonus for me was the show was written by Thomas Meehan along with Mel Brooks. Thomas Meehan is from my home town and he wrote, gasp, Annie. On career day in high school, I went to hear him speak about how he wrote Annie---just a handful of us in a classroom. He was speaking again during the afternoon and on career day, you either went in the morning or the afternoon to your chosen event. But I had to go twice, so I could hear him speak again. I went to my French class and told my teacher I was cutting her class to go hear Thomas Meehan, for a second time. She was fine with that.

Look, you can get tickets half price, easily, for Young Frankenstein. And it is worth it. Sure, if you know the movie it is a greater experience. And the music, well, it is not memorable. Actually, there are a couple of times when the singers melted into very close harmonies. One could have enjoyed even more of that. I mean, if you’re going to write a musical, why not write some cool music?

But, frankly, it was all about bits, this play. And they were good bits, well executed, snappy and very funny. Light as a feather. The play felt even faster than the movie.

Lighting techniques were used that made the set seem half stage, half movie, which worked to the show’s advantage. Lightning, too. Huge castle sets. A roll in the hay that flew through the woods. And my, what knockers.


Anonymous said...

Wow! What provenance! The writer from your hometown and the director from Adam's. And a good show, besides. Mother/Judith

Geraldo Maia said...

Hello Don,
It is a great pleasure to visit your nice and interesting blog for the first time.
Best wishes from Brazil: