By Kassidy Abernathy
Special to Tusk
Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:00 p.m.
Frankenstein’s monster has traded his hobnailed boots for a pair of dancing shoes. Based on the classic 1974 movie by the same name, the musical “Young Frankenstein,” with book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, and music and lyrics by Brooks, is coming to the Marian Gallway Theatre stage starting Tuesday, as a production of the University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance.
The parody of classic horror films of the 1930s follows the grandson of deceased mad scientist Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein, as he travels from New York to Transylvania to resolve newly-inherited-property issues. Upon arriving and meeting a gaggle of guests at Castle Frankenstein, Frederick, formerly ashamed of the family name to the point of insisting it be pronounced “FRONK-en-steen,” decides to continue his grandfather’s laboratory work reviving the dead, with the help of new-found right-hand man, Igor.
Through a series of comic twists, Frederick and his newly created creature switch brains, saving each other’s lives from village mobs, and ultimately tap-dancing — as in the film, to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” — upon a happy ending.
Jamie Schor, public relations and marketing manager for UA theatre and dance, said “Young Frankenstein” can entertain multiple audiences. Brooks, the comedic engine at the heart of “Young Frankenstein” — the screenplay for the film was co-written with Gene Wilder, who also starred as Frederick — has acted, written, produced, directed and composed for more than 50 years, with hits, often but not always genre parodies, including “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “The Twelve Chairs,” “Silent Movie,” “High Anxiety,” “Spaceballs” and more. Before entering film, he worked in stand-up, as a writer for Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” and cut best-selling albums with Carl Reiner as “The 2000-Year-Old Man.” With Buck Henry, Brooks co-created TV’s spy-genre spoof “Get Smart.”
“ ‘Young Frankenstein’ succeeds on two levels,” Schor said, “an older generation of Brooks fans, and a newer generation.”
The musical stays in the same vein as the original film, but with a few minor differences, including of course more musical numbers, and characters arriving at different times, or being involved more in certain scenes.