BWW Interviews: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Set to Open at the Apollo Civic Theater
The New Mel Brook's Musical Young Frankenstein will open at the Apollo Civic Theater in Martinsburg this weekend and features over twenty performers in the area premiere musical adaptation of Mel Brook's horror movie spoof.
Directed by Terri Magers, musically directed by Allison Shaffer and choreographed by Shannen Banzhoff, Young Frankenstein is based on the Mel Brook's cult classic 1974 film of the same name.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Andrew Baughman), the grandson of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein, creator of the Frankenstein monster, is living and working peacefully in New York City in the 1930's with his "adorable mad cap fiancee" Elizabeth Benning (played by Shona Gardner). Suddenly, he is summoned to Transylvania to settle his deceased grandfather's estate and meets his new hunchbacked lab servant, Igor (Matt Baughman), sexy lab assistant, Inga (Amanda Herold) and housekeeper Frau Blucher, (Lauren Hugg) who all expect him to create a new monster!
"Young Frankenstein is one of my favorite movies. In the musical, the comedy becomes inherently broader for the stage. I try to stay true to Gene Wilder's straight-forward, deadpan channeling of classic horror film acting. It's difficult to keep a straight face when you're in scenes with characters like Igor, Frau Blucher and Inspector Kemp" said Andrew Baughman.
"You are pretty much forced to create a different character. And in all honesty, that takes the pressure off a bit, and in return makes my job a little bit easier. The character is classic Igor, the eager hunchbacked servant to Dr. Frankenstein. Some of the famous lines are in there but Marty Feldman had some really funny improvisations, that just wouldn't work if it didn't come from his mouth" said Matt Baughman.
"My character had to expand a lot. I had to develop a whole new way that she would sing and move" said Shona Gardner, on playing Elizabeth Benning.
The cast worked to make the stage musical different from the famous movie, while still honoring the original comedic spoof devised by Mel Brooks.
"I think one of the challenges of this production as a whole is that, Young Frankenstein is a movie. We want to honor the jokes and the audiences' favorite moments, but since film and stage are such different forms of media, we all have to be aware of how our actions are coming across on the stage" said ensemble member Gabby Tokach.
"Whether you're familiar with the movie or not, Mel Brooks is a comedy genius and he wrote the book and music for the show too. This isn't someone else's interpretation of Mel Brooks, this is Mel Brooks himself. And if you are familiar with the movie, every iconic punch line and quote is included in the script" said ensemble member and choreographer Shannen Banzhoff
"My brother and I have been in many shows together, so we have this unexplainable chemistry. Also, he's an incredible singer and musical actor, so I'm constantly learning from him when we share the same stage" said Matt Baughman.
"We have been developing our schtick since we were kids performing in the back yard. We have the sort of rapport that if something goes wrong, it usually winds up being even funnier." said Andrew Baughman