Eeeks! I just saw The Monster!

Abby Normal, please “walk this way” and “roll in za hay”. An experimental look into the opening preview night of Mel Brooks’ newest musical on Broadway.

Saturday October 20, 07
by Kelly Fouchi,

Untitled Document

My husband, Marc, and I just returned from NY where we attended the first Broadway preview performance of Young Frankenstein, the musical…. 5th row orchestra, smack center baby! So we figured we would report back to the StageClick community with a few highlights and some press photos. The audience was pumped and ready for a good time. True to the movie, all the beloved moments and bits are included and the audience’s energy swelled every time they knew what punch line or gag was coming. As I’m sure we have all experienced, some audience members couldn’t resist shouting out the punch lines before the actor delivered it, but it seemed the performer’s were anticipating that.

Now this is not intended to be a review of the show, just an overview….if you want to be surprised when you go see it, STOP READING here. But if you want a sneak peek, you can see video clips from the Seattle preview at the end of this article.

The house lights are still up, we‘re flipping through our Playbills, then lightning cracks, thunder booms, and the house goes dark. Amidst the lightning and rain (a projection), the Transylvania villagers are revealed behind the scrim, lamenting the death of Victor Frankenstein. The lights brighten, black coats disappear and they dance and sing in the streets….”The Happiest Town” celebrating their freedom from Dr. Frankenstein and his work of creating monsters.

Victor’s grandson, Frederick Frankenstein (Roger Bart) sings about his passion and love for “The Brain” after his students ask him if he will follow in his grandfather’s work. After learning he has been willed his grandfather’s laboratory and castle, Frederick prepares to travel to Transylvania to settle the estate.

Frederick’s fiancée, Elizabeth (Megan Mullally) sees him off. (The train station from the movie becomes Pier 57 on the Hudson River with a ship the size of Broadway’s Titanic rolling on and off SL). “Please Don’t Touch Me” (one of my favorites) is a big production number that expands verse after verse on “taffeta, darling”. For your viewing… and listening pleasure, a little bit of Karen Walker comes through, or perhaps Anastasia Beaverhousen, either way, it is Megan Mullally doing her thing and its so much fun! The ensemble joins in as waltzing couples, but no touching! The number ends with the lyrics, “tits, tits, tits, tits, TITS!” and Elizabeth in all her glory being groped by every male on stage….except Frederick who is sailing off.

Frederick meets Igor (Christopher Fitzgerald), that’s (eye-gor) who convinces him to carry on his grandfather’s work in “Together Again”.

Igor tells Frederick he has arranged a laboratory assistant for him and Inga (Sutton Foster) appears from underneath the hay. Inga suggests a “Roll in the Hay” as they travel to the castle…. a very bumpy ride has Inga bouncing up and down and up and down while yodeling faster and faster. This picture shows Inga and Frederick being jostled about in compromising positions. As the horse drawn wagon “travels”, the moving projection of a haunted forest makes the audience feel like they are on a simulator ride in Disney.

Later that night, Frederick falls asleep and is haunted by his grandfather’s ghost and his ancestors. The male dancers burst out of the walls in white lab coats and the long, long legged female dancers in short and sexy white nurse uniforms ascend from the stage floor and convince Frederick to “Join The Family Business.”

Household servant, Frau Blucher <neigh!> (Andrea Martin) admits that Victor Frankenstein “He Vas My Boyfriend” in a Fosse-style parody of the “Mein Herr” chair dance.

With no expense spared, pyrotechnics, cracking lightning (via a gigantic Tesla coil) and sparks (like a conductor just blew) flash and snap as the monster and Frederick rise to the sky in “Life, Life”. When The Monster (Shuler Hensley) steps off the table, he is a giant, measuring 7 ft in his 5 inch boots and about double the width of Frederick. Every step and move he makes is amplified with help from the orchestra. After the show, actor Shuler Hensley said it takes about an hour to apply his green make-up…..and that he and his two kids are going to be Frankenstein for Halloween.

To distract the charging villagers from the monster’s moans coming from inside the castle, Igor and Inga introduce the newest craze, “The Transylvania Mania”. An impromptu dance party is interrupted by the monster busting out of the front door after being freed by Frau Blucher < neigh!>.

With the monster on the loose, Inga seduces Freddie to “Listen To Your Heart
and helps him de-stress as they put the empty examining table to good use. While Inga and Frederick are dancing in the sheets, they are interrupted by Elizabeth “Surprise” and her entourage….introduced as “Sasha, nails”, “Basha, hair”, “Masha, wardrobe”, “Tasha, make-up” and “Bob” (much like the staff introductions by Roger Debris in The Producers).

The monster crashes into a remote cabin occupied by a blind man who is looking for companionship in “Please Send Me Someone”. Incidentally, the soup, the wine and the cigar bits are there and highly anticipated.

The big Susan Stroman production number comes to life in, of course, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. The monster scats and the dancers (again who rise from the stage floor) are costumed like Frankensteins in platform Frankenstein boot tap shoes, hats and tails. Strobe lighting effects add another dimension to the choreography…..certainly the audience favorite.

After an exhilarating 7 times (after all, it is Elizabeth’s lucky number) in a cave in the forest, Elizabeth sings of her love for The Monster in “Deep Love” with as many innuendos as Mel Brooks could pack in to one song.

With the brain transfer a success, the tale comes to an end and the guys get their girls…..The Monster with Elizabeth, Frederick with Inga, and Frau Blucher < neigh!> even gets a man. Just like the “Goodbye” at the end of The Producers' curtain call, Young Frankenstein’s curtain call also ends on a funny high note, suggesting “maybe next year ‘Blazing Saddles’”

Our Young Frankenstein experience came to a close as we encountered cast members at the stage door. From the ensemble and supporting players to the lead performers, they were all eager to talk about their experiences with the show so far. I was particularly excited to meet Sutton Foster and she was more than willing to have a quick chat about Millie.

Since we returned from NY, a lot of friends have asked “was it as good as The Producers? Let’s say it is a highly entertaining, “pull out all the stops” blockbuster musical. And although critics and even audience members may not be able to resist comparing it to the perfectly crafted Producers, we say “IT’S ALIVE, IT’S ALIVE” and not to be missed!”

To view Young Frankenstein's stageclick show page (including links to video clips from the show, cast, staff and news), click here  :

Video clips from the Seattle preview

Musical Numbers


The Happiest Town ..... Villagers
The Brain ..... Frederick, Students
Please Don’t Touch Me ..... Elizabeth and Voyagers
Together Again ..... Frederick, Igor
Roll In The Hay ..... Inga, Frederick, Igor
Join The Family Business ..... Victor, Frederick, Ancestors
He Vas My Boyfriend ..... Frau Blucher
The Law ..... Kemp and Villagers
Life, Life ..... Frederick
Welcome to Transylvania ..... Transylvania Quartet
Transylvania Mania ..... Igor, Frederick, Inga, Kemp and Villagers



He’s Loose

..... Kemp, Villagers
Listen to Your Heart ..... Inga
Surprise ..... Elizabeth, Igor, Frau Blucher, Sasha, Masha,Basha, Tasha and Bob
Please Send Me Someone ..... Hermit
Man About Town ..... Frederick
Puttin’ On The Ritz ..... Frederick, The Monster, Inga, Igor, Frau Blucher, Ensemble
Deep Love ..... Elizabeth
Frederick’s Soliloquy ..... Frederick
Deep Love (Reprise) ..... The Monster
Final Ultimo ..... The Company