On October 11 and 12, the Hershey Theatre presents Young Frankenstein the Musical at 7:30 P.M. For more information or to buy tickets, go to the Hershey Theatre website.
Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is a respected medical professor in New York. He is also the grandson of the legendary Victor Frankenstein, who created a monster. After Victor’s death, Frederick inherits the family estate in Transylvania. He leaves behind his fiancé, Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn), to settle the estate.
He is met by his assistant Igor (Marty Feldman), “My grandfather used to work for your grandfather,” the attractive lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr), and the housekeeper Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman). After a fruitless search for Victor’s laboratory Frederick, Inga, and Igor follow the sound of an eerie violin which leads them to the lab and to Victor’s diary called “How I Did It”. This diary causes Frederick to dream the impossible and create his own monster (Peter Boyle), to the chagrin of the villagers who are wary of having another Frankenstein in town.
The film is a satire of the 1930s Frankenstein films directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff. The plot and scenery parallel the original films, with the characters providing the humor. Wilder runs the gambit from serious scientist to crazed scientific in his portrayal of Frederick. Feldman embraces the weird aspects of Igor, complete with moving hump. Other noteworthy characters are the blind monk (Gene Hackman) and the Police Inspector (Kenneth Mars). Hackman gets the funniest sequence: feeding the monster. Mars’ officer has a troublesome mechanical arm, a result of the last Frankenstein monster. Mars milks the role, with abrupt movements and slurred speech. Kahn is cold, manipulating, Garr is ditzy and seductive, and Leachman is a little off-kilter (Blucher means glue, which is the reason the horses react to her name). The story is strong and the satire biting: one of Mel Brooks’ best films.
In 2008, Brooks and Thomas Meehan adapted the film into a Broadway musical. The show preserves the film’s story, with a few minor changes: the show begins with the Transylvanians celebrating Victor’s death, etc. The songs enhance the story, such as “Together Again” which sets up Frederick and Igor’s relationship, and Frau Blucher’s solo “He Vas My Boyfriend” about her past. The show received mixed reviews, but was nominated for several Tony awards and won numerous other theater awards.
Young Frankenstein (1974) 106 min
Director: Mel Brooks