“Young Frankenstein”

Hilton Theatre, New York • 20 October 2007 • 2pm [preview]
Music & Lyrics by Mel Brooks. Book by Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan. Based on the screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks for the eponymous movie.

Direction & Choreography by Susan Stroman. With Matthew LaBanca (Frederick Frankenstein [understudy]), Megan Mullally (Elizabeth), Sutton Foster (Inga), Shuler Hensley (The Monster), Andrea Martin (Frau Blucher), Fred Applegate (Hermit), Christopher Fitzgerald (Igor)…

Young Frankenstein is Mel Brooks’ second Broadway musical. It is sometimes so reminiscent of the first one that it feels like The Producers II: Let’s Take Transylvania. The music is good old Broadway fare, though hardly original. And there are jokes aplenty, the lewder, the better. (Inga to Frederick, as she is resting against him on a hay cart: “Don’t hold that against me.” Him: “I’ll try not to.”)

What will probably make the show a success, on top of being inspired by a cult movie, is its fantastic physical production (sets, costumes, lights) and the great work of director-choreographer Susan Stroman. Although Matthew LaBanca did a very fine job, I was quite disappointed to miss Roger Bart in the title role. There are many outstanding performances in the rest of the cast, most remarkably Andrea Martin’s Frau Blucher (the object of a hilarious recurring joke) and Christopher Fitzgerald’s excellent Igor.

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