about 2,000 performances less than itspredecessor and while The Producers rang up a total of fifteen Tony nominations(winning a then-record twelve), YF received a scant three nominationsand took home none.
Does thatmean it’s a bad show? No, in many ways it’s a better show. It adheres closer toits original material and while The Producers is essentially a one-jokeconcept (albeit a great joke), Young Frankenstein affectionately spoofsan entire genre and Broadway itself.
Thedespised Victor von Frankenstein (Robert Bauer) has passed and it’s up to hisgrandson Frederick Frankenstein – pronounced Fronk-en-steen – (TroyThomas Evans) to return to Transylvania and claim his birthright. How longbefore Frederick and Igor – pronounced Eye-gore – (Bill Garcia) get backin the family business?
If you likethe film, you’ll like the show but you’re going to have to get past somecasting issues. Evans is a talented young performer who’s done good work, buthe is decades too young for the role of Frederick. Whether his constipated takeon the role was his or director Katie Watts’s decision, it didn’t work. Bill Garcia does fine as Igor, but itoccurred to me as the show drew to a close that, for a number of reasons, heshould have played Frederick and Evans would be better suited for the role ofIgor.
The supporting cast is strong, with Tory Rotlisberger stealingscenes as Frau Blücher and Madison Scarbrough a hoot as Frederick’svainglorious fiancé Elizabeth. Robert Bauer does double duty as Inspector Kempand Grandpa Frankenstein, and Eric Yanez does well as the monster.
Watts also choreographed the show, and she exhibits a muchstronger hand with that task in several well-done production numbers includingthe classic tap-dancing extravaganza “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.
It’s a MelBrooks piece, so the humor runs from the clever to the crass. A great deal of laughter comes fromfamiliarity with the material, as evidenced by the audience’s raucous responsesto some jokes despite the delivery being somewhat wobbly.
You knowwhat you’re gonna get with a show like Young Frankenstein and while youdo get a lot of it, this monster could have been stitched together better.
‘Young Frankenstein’ runs through July 14 at the RavenPerforming Arts Theater in Healdsburg. Friday and Saturday evening performancesare at 8 pm; the Sunday matinee is at 2 pm. There’s a Thursday, July 11 “value night” performance at 8pm.
For more information, go to raventheater.org.