Saturday, November 21, 2009

Young Frankenstein: The Latest from Broadway in Chicago

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I was once again fortunate to be a guest of Broadway in Chicago, as they invited me and a friend to check out their latest offering- Young Frankenstein. In a nutshell, it was like the 1974 Mel Brooks movie, only in full color, with singing and dancing. For me, the highlight was a rousing number called "Join the family business" in which young Dr. Frankenstein is called in his dreams to join in his forefather's dream of bringing new life to a corpse. The all-singing, all-dancing piece involved a delightfully original element of puppetry that made it a "wow" in my book.

I asked my guest, Karen Kring, to share her thoughts about the musical.

I had the special opportunity to go with my neighbor friend Kim Moldofsky to see "Young Frankenstein" at the Cadillac Palace earlier this month. It did not disappoint.

The musical seemed to include most of the classic lines I remember from the Mel Brooks' 1974 movie, such as "what hump?" "what knockers!" and one of my favorites "walk this way". They did a whole song based on "roll, roll, roll in the hay." Other new songs include "Transylvania Mania" and "He Vas My Boyfriend".

Had to appreciate the updates in this production, a reference to a soy macchiato and some other changes that indicated some additional creativity put into the production and not a mere translation of the movie to stage.

The play blew out their version of the "Putting on the Ritz" number making you forget you were watching a play set in Transylvania Heights.

Watching the play I had to remember Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Gene Hackman, and of course Peter Boyle, as if they were long lost friends. Though not an identical production, performances of Roger Bart, Corey English, Shuler Hensley, Beth Curry, Brad Oscar, Joanna Glushak, Anne Horak, and others should satisfy the the movie's cast, if not make them proud.

Like the movie, the horses neigh when they hear "Frau Brucher". It wasn't until seeing the play that I'd heard the idea that Brucher means glue in German*. Having studied German in college, I was surprised not to have known this. Sure enough, according to various web sources, my German/English dictionary and my German bud Daniel, Klebstoff is glue in German and Brucher is just a surname.

If you go see the show, I'd be interested in what you think. I'm especially curious about people's reaction this show based on their relationship with the movie. I'd seen the movie many times and wonder if knowing or not knowing the movie would affect someone's enjoyment of the play.

While we were in the balcony, and I was fine with that, see if you can get floor seats. There's a part where the actors come off stage and I missed that. In case strobe lights are a concern for you, know that they use them.

Karen Kring is a photographer, journalist, designer and editor by choice and a writer by necessity. She lives in Skokie, tweets at @LiveFromSkokie and runs Kring Lerner Group, an agency doing a variety of photography, journalism and other media projects and campaigns.

*I as the one who told her brucher meant glue because that's what my trivia buff of a husband told me.

3 comments:

Drew Kime said...

I always thought the whinnies were because the horses remember Frau Brucher with a certain ... inappropriate fondness, shall we say. I don't know if there's anything in the movie to suggest that, or if I just have a deeply twisted mind, but I have "known" that's what the joke was for a long time.

Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig said...

Now THAT'S the kind of blogging hook-up I'd LOVE - getting to report on Broadway shows!! How fun for you! Although I have to confess, I've never even seen the movie, so I'm thinking the show might go over my head a bit. Glad you enjoyed it!

Meowmie said...

That sounds like a hoot! I'd love to see that musical.