Young Frankenstein Launches National Tour

Mel Brooks‘ other musical, Young Frankenstein, recently launched its national tour in Providence, Rhode Island. From there, Frankenstein and company will spend the rest of 2009 visiting Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Young Frankenstein, the musical adaption of Mel Brooks’ 1974 film of the same name, is the bolted-neck stepchild of Brooks’ other, more successful musical, The Producers.

The original Broadway production of The Producers, itself an adaptation of Brooks’ 1968 film of the same name, won a record breaking 12 Tony Awards.

It starred the incorrigible Matthew Broderick and the incomparable Nathan Lane.

The Producers, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was a beloved and worshipped run-away smash hit.

Meanwhile, Young Frankenstein is just okay.

At least that’s what the critics say. It’s always compared to its more famous cousin and when it does it always falls short. However, it’s a thoroughly entertaining show that’s well worth the price of a Young Frankenstein ticket.

The most exciting aspect of this recently launched national tour is the cast. It features three members of the Broadway production including two actors who originated their roles.

Roger Bart reprises his role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein and Shuler Hensley returns as The Monster. Joining them is Cory English playing Igor. Bart and Hensley have been with YF from the beginning while English joined the Broadway cast on Nov 25, 2008.

By the way, the Broadway production closed Jan 4, 2009 after more than 500 performances.

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Early reviews of the tour mimic reviews of its Broadway predecessor, “it’s fun and campy but lacks the energy of The Producers…” blah blah blah.

Another criticism of YF is its music isn’t as memorable as the tunes from The Producers. Land of Punt begs to differ. We actually enjoy the music from YF much more than the music from The Producers. Of course that’s all subjective and a matter of one’s taste.

One thing that isn’t subjective is the show’s lack of taste. Brooks really turns up the smut level as he delivers one sexual innuendo after another. The musical may be based on a 35-year-old film but its humor reflects the zeitgeist of today’s lewdest comedies.

This leads us to YF’s only qualifications. If you don’t like Mel Brooks and/or you’re easily disgusted, avoid this show like the H1N1 virus.

As long attend Young Frankenstein hoping for a few laughs and some airy tunes, you’ll be anything but disappointed.

In other touring company news, the North American Tour of The Lion King celebrated its 3,000th performance. The historic performance occurred on Oct 4 at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.

In total, tickets to The Lion King have been sold in 56 North American cities. So far during its tour the Disney produced musical has grossed nearly $450 million and has been seen by over 7 million fans.

The tour concludes its Alaska engagement on Oct 11.

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