Wednesday, January 24, 2007

That's FrankenSTEEN: Just In Time For Halloween

That's FrankenSTEEN: Just In Time For Halloween

What promises to be the year's most highly anticipated Broadway musical -- especially if it can retain all of its amazing workshop talent -- is Mel Brooks' hotsy-totsy Young Frankenstein. According to Playbill, casting notices have confirmed that rehearsals will begin in June aimed toward a fall opening on the Great White Way.

Most insiders have speculated that with Susan Stroman and Thomas Meehan doing for this film-to-stage treatment what they did for Brooks' The Producers (Stroman directed and choreographed while Meehan collaborated with Brooks on the book), the new tuner will likely replace the other after its six year run at the St. James.

While the workshop included Roger Bart, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian d'Arcy James, Shuler Hensley, Marc Kudisch, Cloris Leachman and Sutton Foster, there's no word on whether any of them will tread Young Frankenstein's boards, but it's a sure bet that many of them won't be able to resist. At least that's what I'm hoping!

Rest assured that I'm tracking developments of this one very closely.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Related Stories:
Beauty Out On Broadway (January 17, 2007)
M-G-M: Movies-Going-Musical (January 3, 2007)
Young Frankenstein Workshop To Feature Monster Casting (October 11, 2006)

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At 25 January, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

This is great news! Even though I'm still about two months away from my first trip to Broadway, I'll have to start planning my second!

I'm a big Mel Brooks fan and I think "Young Frankenstein" is probably his masterpiece, as well as one of the funniest movies ever made. In fact, I still have the original soundtrack album, featuring music and dialogue, that I bought when the movie first came out. I'll have to give it a spin on the old turntable this weekend!

It's the kind of movie that, more than 30 years later, just the mention of it brings back so many hilarious scenes and lines. I hope it all stays in the musical.

Of course, it's hard for me to imagine anyone else playing these parts. The movie was just so perfectly cast. How could anyone be a better "Eye-gor" than Marty Feldman?

Still, I'm not chauvinistic about it. I'm curious to see how other actors, most of whom I probably won't know, interpret these roles. I'm hoping it'll be a great complement to the movie - every bit as funny and with more music!

By the way, I didn't realize until I read his memoir last year that Gene Wilder had an extensive career in the theater before he started making movies. It's kind of ironic, and perhaps somehow fitting, that two of his most-famous film characters have found a home on stage.

Now I'm waiting for "Blazing Saddles." Singing cowboys, what could be better!

At 25 January, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

One more thing. I think part of the movie's charm comes from its look: it was shot in black and white and it looks like an old horror movie. I wonder what the set designers will do to re-create that on stage? I think the results could be pretty amazing.

At 25 January, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, Like you, Young Frankenstein ranks as my personal favorite from Brooks' catalog. What has me particularly salivating is the chance to see Cloris Leachman reprise her film role as Frau Blücher.

As Baz Luhrmann proved in 2002's La Bohème, you can create a visually arresting black and white work, even on the stage. We'll see if Susan Stroman's design team is similarly inspired.

At 25 January, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

You know Steve, just by writing that name, somewhere there are horses neighing uncontrollably!

At 25 January, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

And I can almost hear them myself!


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