Young Frankenstein National Tour In Full Swing
Its official title is “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein ” or as the kids say, TNMBMYF. The show, which suffered an early death on Broadway, is alive on road via a national touring company.
Currently, Young Frankenstein is selling tickets in Chicago. From there it goes to Washington D.C., then to Baltimore and then Atlanta and then… the musical is scheduled to run deep into 2010.
The traveling show stars Roger Bart. He originated the role of Frederick Frankenstein on Broadway. Also reprising his role of “The Monster” is Shuler Henseley (it was a role he was born to play). Cory English didn’t originate the role of Igor but he did play it on Broadway. He too is part of the traveling ensemble.
Young Frankenstein is the musical theater adaptation of Mel Brooks’ 1974 classic comedy film of the same name. The musical was brought to life by the same team behind the smash hit, and another musical theater adaptation of another Mel Brooks movie, The Producers.
Which movie is next in line for a theatrical adaption, History Of The World Part I or Spaceballs?
The creative team in question consists of Brooks, composer Thomas Meehan and director Susan Stroman.
The Producers (which won 12 Tony Awards) is the worst part about Young Frankenstein, everyone compares the two musicals.
Which is a travesty since Young Frankenstein is not as good as The Producers. That’s not a bad thing it’s the truth.
Then again, Young Frankenstein is a parody of a parody. In being such, it’s never had the opportunity to achieve the same emotional resonance as The Producers. And it was that “emotional resonance” that propelled The Producers into winning a boatload of Tonys.
So “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” was doomed from the start to be nothing more than a funny, rollicking, good time. And that’s perfectly okay.
Land of Punt feels the need to defend Young Frankenstein because some critics are missing the point of the musical. A point LOP believes is as plain as the bolts of the monster’s neck. That is Young Frankenstein aspires to be nothing more than escapist fun. You want deep intellectual faire, than go see A Steady Rain, Equus, or The Boy From Oz.
The show has gags, bawdy jokes, slapstick, yodeling, kvetching, and borscht-belt humor. Young Frankenstein not only caters to fans of Brooks, and his type of humor, but it’s enough of an entertainingly good time to put smiles on faces of those curmudgeons that normally don’t like musical theatre (although how could anyone not like musicals).
As for the music, LOP actually likes the tunes from Young Frankenstein better than the tunes from The Producers. However, that’s a matter of personal taste.
Nonetheless, we can all agree that the best song from either show, “Puttin On The Ritz” (thanks to being composed by Irving Berlin), is Young Frankenstein’s showstopper. That’s something everyone, including the critics who hate Young Frankenstein, can agree about.
The Berlin classic notwithstanding, it’s interesting that Chicago critics are blasting the show. They seem to be tripping over themselves to demean, degrade, and demoralize the production.
Meanwhile reviewers from other cities, cities that don’t have a chip on their shoulder or their nose in the sky, like Hartford and Providence, interpret Young Frankenstein in the same way as Land of Punt.
Is this phenomenon only applicable to Chi Town? How will other snooty cities react to Brooks’ monster musical?
Will the reviews from East Lansing be the same as the reviews when Young Frankenstein plays Boston?
Will the reviewer in Pittsburgh enjoy the show more than the reviewer who saw Young Frankenstein in Los Angeles?
Regardless of what reviewers have to say, there are only three things you need to know about the musical Young Frankenstein. One, the show is lots of fun. Two, it has a great cast. And three, it’s Fronkensteen!