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The Monster Has Arrived: “Young Frankenstein At Broadway Sacramento

“The Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” opened at the Community Theater Wednesday evening as part of the Broadway Sacramento Series.  “ Young Frankenstein” is the second movie Mel Brooks has turned into a Broadway musical. The first was “The Producers,” made from an earlier Brooks film (1968).

The incredible success of “The Producers” on Broadway influenced Brooks to adapt the far more popular “Young Frankenstein” (1974) for the Broadway stage. Brooks wrote the original screenplay with Gene Wilder, who starred in the film.

Brooks brought together all the major creative workers of “The Producers” to work on “Young Frankenstein.” Thomas Meehan wrote the book with Brooks. Brooks again wrote the music and lyrics. Susan Stroman choreographed and directed.

Synthia Link, Preston Trumon Boyd (the Monster), Christopher Ryan, Cory English and Joanna Glushak

“Young Frankenstein” comes from a much more familiar source than “The Producers.” The film was much more popular, and those who love it probably have seen it many times. With the stage show, many in the audience begin laughing the moment they see a gag coming, such as the horses neighing when Frau Blucher’s name is mentioned or the soup in the lap of the blind hermit. Brooks’ humor stands up to repeat viewings well.

Christopher Ryan, Cory English and Synthia Link

The play follows the film almost exactly, only now there are songs thrown in to deepen the narrative. Brooks is no Irving Berlin, an easy comparison to make with the stage production. Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” is easily the best production number in the show. His songs are very Broadway musical in style, adding to the humor and storyline.

“Puttin’ on the Ritz”

Much of this cast is the second group to perform in the national tour.

Christopher Ryan stars as Frederick Frankenstein. He is a national tour and regional veteran. He does a good job as the young Frankenstein.

Christopher Ryan (center) and Leah Hoffman

A standout is Janine Divita as Frankenstein’s fiancee Elizabeth. Her performance of “Please Don’t Touch Me” in the first act and “Deep Love” in the second act are highlights.

Noah Aberlin substituting Thursday night for Cory English as Igor was very popular with the audience.

Cory English

Joanna Glushak also won the audience over with her portrayal of the notorious Frau Blucher.

Preston Truman Boyd was also very popular as the Monster. To be able to emote under all that makeup and tap dance in extremely tall shoes takes great acting and dancing skills.

Preston Truman Boyd (left) and Christopher Ryan

The scenery by Robin Wagner and costumes by William Ivey Long (a name often attached to Broadway productions) add to the song and dance spectacle.

Again Broadway Sacramento has brought us a wonderful example of current Broadway: the popular adaptation of film-to-Broadway hit. Thursday night’s audience reacted with lots of laughter and long applause. 

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