Saturday, October 9, 2010

Young Frankenstein Invades Ft. lauderdale

Giddy, Bawdy Fun with “Young Frankenstein” at Broward Center

By Skip Sheffield

Is there anything Mel Brooks cannot do?
We know and love him for his witty and humorous writing, but Brooks has also acted, sung and danced, directed and produced film, television and theater, and he composes music and lyrics too.
“Young Frankenstein” the stage musical is Brooks’ latest creation, after the huge success of “The Producers” on Broadway.
“Young Frankenstein” runs through Oct. 17 at Broward Center for the Arts. It’s a giddy, silly, sexy explosion of song, dance and mock science fiction.
“Young Frankenstein” has inspired the kind of devotion that leads to word-by-word recitation of key gags by loyal fans.
The book, by Brooks and Thomas Meehan (“Hairspray”) is as true to the 1974 movie as is possible on a theatrical stage.
It is director Susan Stroman’s choreography that raises the stage show above the movie. This touring company features a bevy of beautiful, saucy dancing babes and an equally agile company of athletic young men.
Playing the guileless young Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronk-en-Steen) is boyish Christopher Ryan.
The opening scene is set in Transylvania (“The Happiest Town”) in 1934, and Frederick’s grandfather, Dr. von Frankenstein, has just died, leaving New York Dr. Frederick the sole surviving heir.
Frederick is engaged to frosty Elizabeth (Janine Davita), who demonstrates her attitude with “Please Don’t Touch Me.”
When Frederick dutifully travels to Transylvania, he fist encounters Igor (That’s Eye-Gore) (Cory English), his grandfather’s faithful hunchbacked assistant (Hump, what hump?) and a luscious young Fraulein named Inga (Synthia Link), who is only too willing to be Frederick’s favorite laboratory helper. We can see where things are going with the corny, bawdy “Roll in the Hay.”
A scene-stealer in this show is Joanna Glushak as the haughty Frau Blucher, whose very name causes horses to whinny.
Another outstanding player is baritone David Benoit in the dual role of Inspector Kemp and the lovelorn, blind Hermit.
Then of course there is the monster himself, played by strapping Preston Truman Boyd, a creature first barely coherent but ultimately supple enough to tap dance to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in a tuxedo while reciting in Shakespearean tones.
“Young Frankenstein” is closer to burlesque than classic musical theater, but it sure is fun with its barrage of singing, dancing and cheerful innuendo. After all, a spoof is a spoof, and Mel Brooks is the spoofmaster general.
Tickets are $25-$65. Call 954-462-0222 or visit

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