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Last night, we caught a performance of the new musical called YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN which is based on the Oscar-nominated smash hit 1974 film of the same title. It is a wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic from the comic genius of Mel Brooks, who also created the Broadway hit, "The Producers." When Frederick Frankenstein, an esteemed New York brain surgeon and professor, inherits a castle and laboratory in Transylvania from his grandfather, deranged genius Victor Von Frankenstein, he faces a dilemma. Does he continue to run from his family's tortured past or does he stay in Transylvania to carry on his grandfather's mad experiments reanimating the dead and, in the process, fall in love with his sexy lab assistant Inga?," state press notes. "Unfolding in the forbidding Castle Frankenstein and the foggy moors of Transylvania Heights, the show's raucous score includes 'The Transylvania Mania,' 'He Vas My Boyfriend' and the unforgettable treatment of Irving Berlin's 'Puttin' On the Ritz.' The performances of the cast members were memorable, especially SUTTON FOSTER, ANDREA MARTIN, MEGAN MULLALY and CHRISTOPHER FITZGERALD. Young Frankenstein plays the Hilton Theatre on 42nd Street.
From the New York Times (Ben Brantley):
No, it is not nearly as good as “The Producers,” Mr. Brooks’s previous Broadway musical. No, it is not as much fun as the 1974 Mel Brooks movie, also called “Young Frankenstein,” on which it is based. No, it does not provide $450 worth of pleasure (that being its record-setting price for “premier seating”).
Well, unless you measure your pleasure in decibels. Even by the blaring standards of Broadway, “Young Frankenstein,” directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, stands out for its loudness — in its ear-splitting amplification, eye-splitting visual effects and would-be side-splitting jokes. It’s as if the production had been built on the premise that its audiences would be slow on the uptake and hard of hearing, the sort of folks who would say: “That pun flew right by me. Could you repeat it a couple of times, louder?”
There’s no denying that this hopped-up stage version of Mr. Brooks’s movie, about a brilliant American doctor who finds his heart (among other body parts) in Transylvania, looks like it cost every penny of its reported $16 million-plus budget. Much of Robin Wagner’s comic-book gothic set could fit right into that gold standard of family-friendly scariness, the Haunted Mansion at Disney World.
Still, as newly rich New Yorkers learn every day, money can’t buy you flair. It can’t even buy you laughs. “Young Frankenstein” — which features songs by Mr. Brooks and a book by Mr. Brooks and Thomas Meehan, his collaborator on “The Producers” — certainly has a high density of talent. It also surely has the hardest-working supersize ensemble, led by an amiable but overwhelmed Roger Bart, and the largest percentage of gags per scene.