'Young Frankenstein' comes to River Campus

Friday, April 20, 2012
Young Frankenstein
The Mel Brooks Musical
Direction and Choreography: Susan Stroman
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Editor's note: This story has been edited from its original version to correct the place of the performance.

The musical stage version of Mel Brooks' famous movie comes to Cape Girardeau on Sunday.

The Broadway version of "Young Frankenstein" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. at the Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus.

"We consider this to be of the same high caliber as some of the other Broadway shows that have come through, like ‘Hairspray' and ‘Footloose,'" said Dr. Ken Stilson, professor and chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Southeast. "It's wonderful for the community to experience this type of production. Our students get a great deal out of it, as well, because they get to learn by being involved in this professional production on a few things."

"Young Frankenstein" is based on the 1974 Oscar-nominated comedy film of the same name, which was written by comedy legends Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. The movie was directed by Brooks, who has labeled it his best film. Wilder, who played Dr. Frankenstein in the movie, called it a parody of the horror film genre, especially the 1931 Universal Pictures adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and its 1939 sequel, "Son of Frankenstein."

"Of course Brooks is best known on Broadway for his huge hit ‘The Producers,' which was based on his 1968 film of the same name," said Dr. Marc Strauss, professor of theater and dance at Southeast. "But he remains, well into his 80s, firmly within the musical theatre tradition of the farce and musical comedy and revue format. His stories are outlandish and full of bad puns, stupid jokes and pure, unadulterated laughter."

Earl and Margie Holland, for whom Southeast's Visual and Performing Arts School is named, selected the show as their special choice River Campus event for the season.

"It's one of the hottest shows out there on tour. We're so excited to have it here," said Bob Cerchio, interim director of the Show Me Center and assistant director of the River Campus. "It's enjoying sold-out crowds on its current tour, and crowds are really enjoying it. It also did very well on Broadway. It's as big as anything we've had at Bedell, both actual size and cultural value."

Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, a five-time Tony Award winner, the musical will feature brand new numbers adapted specifically for the stage, including "Transylvania Mania" and "He Vas My Boyfriend," as well as favorites from the classic film.

"Just like almost anyone else, I've probably seen the movie in excess of 30 times. That's the kind of comedy that really never gets old," Stilson said. "Thing is, I've never seen the musical, and I'm really looking forward to it. It will be interesting to see how it matches up to the film. I know I'll be laughing quite a bit."

The story, which stays true to the film for the most part, follows bright young Dr. Frankenstein ("That's Fronkensteen!") as he attempts to create a monster, with some scary and hilarious complications. The production won the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award and the Broadway Audience Award for Best Musical.

Tickets range from $43 to $49, and may be purchased by contacting the River Campus box office at 651-2265, or online at RiverCampusEvents.com.



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