By PAM JOHNSON
If you love the cult classic Mel Brooks movie “Young Frankenstein” starring Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman, you will be thrilled with this musical stage production (also by Mel Brooks) presented by a multi-talented cast at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.
This show introduces Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronkensteen”), who is the grandson of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the well-known monster from the novel by Mary Shelley.
“The original Frankenstein is definitely not a comedy,” director Karen Elb explained, “but the core plot from that story is used as the backstory for our titular character. Young Freddie Frankenstein is a professor of anatomy at a prestigious school in New York where he struggles to distance himself from the infamous legacy of his mad scientist grandfather, the original Frankenstein we know from the novel and the 1931 film version. Early in our story, he receives word of his grandfather’s death and he must journey to Transylvania to settle his grandfather’s estate. But, as we find out, Freddie has inherited much more than an old castle from his grandfather.”
And thus begins the hilarious story of Freddie, his fiancée (Elizabeth Benning), his hump-backed side-kick (Igor), his new personal assistant (Inga), the estate housekeeper (Frau Blücher), and his own creation (the Monster).
If you’re in the mood to “laugh out loud” Elb encourages you to attend. “This script is hysterically funny, this cast is so talented and entertaining, and I’m certain everyone who sees it will have a great time!”
Not only will you enjoy the absurdity of this show, but the music is “to die for.” You’ll hear memorable tunes such as “The Transylvania Mania,” “He Vas My Boyfriend,” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” And what about a tap-dancing Monster? You can’t beat that!
“I think the audience will be blown away by the music and the dancing in this show!” Lorrie Anderson (Elizabeth Benning) said. “The audience is in for a real treat!”
“While most of the songs are hilarious additions to the story,” Catherine Squibb (Inga) remarked, “there are some wonderful and beautifully moving musical pieces within the show. Also,” she hinted, “there’s an incredibly talented lab assistant who yodels. What could be more fun than that?”
Yes, there are many good reasons to come see Young Frankenstein, but mainly, just come to have a good time. “You could look into this show and find some sort of message I’m sure,” Sarah Sanders (Frau Blücher) stated. “There is the man who is trying to make his own name for himself despite the family’s reputation and expectation.
“You have the ignorant townspeople content to fear the unknown as opposed to understanding it. You have the lady looking for love in all the wrong places trying to fill a void, only to find love where she least expects it. I could go on and on. But I prefer to look at this show as just good, hilarious fun presented for pure entertainment.”
However, Chris Ward (the Monster) does mention one other take-away message from the show. “It is a great source of fun and entertainment while also addressing the common message to never judge a book by its cover. There are many characters in this show that appear one way on the outside, but deep within you can see true compassion shine.”
Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, come out to see this stage production. “The story is famous because of Mel Brooks’ original (non-musical) film,” Lucas Schmidt (Dr. Frederick Frankenstein) said. “The cleverness of the songs combined with the original story make for a new experience.”
Rounding out the cast are Tabatha Bird, Jaclyn DiDonato, Janette Gaines, Madelyn Goward, Shawn Hale, Aryn King, Lindy Ley, Ashley Light, Hannah Love, Jacob Maurer, Paul McQuaid, Dominic Peterson, Brigitte Reyes, Sharon Squibb, Corey Tickles, Jeff Waddell, and Lucas Wilcox.
The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein is by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan; music and lyrics by Mel Brooks. JRT’s production is directed by Karen Elb, with music direction by Lucas Schmidt and choreography by Lindy Ley.
It is sponsored by the Bank of Tennessee, and Sonia King and Mary B. Martin. (Please note that this show contains adult humor.)
Young Frankenstein runs October 20 through Nov. 5, on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are $16 general admission, $14 for students and seniors.
To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010 or go online to www.jonesboroughtheatre.com.