Taking Flight Theatre Company Frankenstein, A New MusicalBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jun 9th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Taking Flight Theatre Company
Waddell Theater, Sterling, VA
Through June 18th
2:00 with one intermission
$18/$12 Student and Seniors
Reviewed June 5th, 2011
Frankenstein, A New Musical is a musical with music by Mark Baron; Book and Lyrics by Jeffery Jackson with original story and adaptation by Gary P. Cohen. Dr. Victor Frankenstein thinks he has found the secret to bringing people back to life after death. After bringing life back to a condemned man he begins to have second thoughts as to what his “gift” can do and tries to destroy the creature, who escapes. The disfigured creature realizes what he has become and pledges to destroy Frankenstein’s family.
A new look at the classic story of life and death Frankenstein: A New Musical is full of strong emotion and compelling words. If only the audience could have understood them. Many of the group numbers were not understandable. The microphones often made rustling sounds against clothing which gave it a distorted sound. There were occasions when the mics did not come on quickly enough, while at other times the sound disappeared into the auditorium. The solos seemed fine and the performer used their emotion and heart to carry forth the intended message. Definitely sit as close to the center of the room as possible. During the first act we were off to the house left, after the intermission we moved to be directly in the center of the house, and the sound was much better, although still difficult to understand in group numbers. If I hadn’t already been familiar with the story of Frankenstein, I would have been lost throughout much of the show.
Brent Stone played the doctor Victor Frankenstein. A good strong voice, but his diction sometimes grew garbled in the group numbers. Stone seemed driven by a desire for revenge that was all-consuming. His love for Elizabeth Lavenza (Molly Hicks Larson) was real and the two seemed a good match. Larson had a powerful voice that carried, yet she too seemed at times lost in the group numbers and not understandable. The creature was a powerful man played by Michael Reid. His anger was apparent and his emotions showed clearly. Reid created one angry monster! One interesting note was that his face was not scary. Really his only distinguishing feature was a scar on his chest where the doctor had opened his chest. Perhaps more makeup on his face or around his eyes could give him an even more sinister ghostly look.
One bit of confusion involved young Victor, played by Blake O’Brien, in a short scene. The next scene included a new character, Victor’s much younger brother, William, who was also played by O’Brien. The frequent shifts in time were a bit confusing, which is a problem with the script. Overhead projections onto three cleverly hidden sails weren’t used consistently to show the time of an event. Another example of confusing time jumps was William playing with his nanny (Susanna Todd), next the nanny was being hung and then you were back to recreating the incident. The lighting by designer Ian Claar was effective.The lighting conveyed a somber quality to the performance. The simple set of a few short platforms was enhanced with projections. The projections were simple years and place names, and a few simple photographs.
Even with significant sound issues, Taking Flight’s musical retelling of Frankenstein was a solemn look at a dark story.
- Victor Frankenstein: Brent Stone
- Creature/Condemned Man: Michael Reid
- Elizabeth Lavenza: Molly Hicks Larson
- Henry: Ryan Katcheressian
- Alphonse Frankenstein: Bob Chaves
- William Frankenstein/Young Victor: Blake O’Brien
- Caroline Frankenstein: Alana Sharp
- Justine Moritz: Susanna Todd
- Agatha: Stephanie Pencek
- Blind Man: Andy Izquierdo
- Captain Robert Walton: David Segal
- Female Ensemble: Montana Brown, Alana Sharp, Claudia Van Norstrand, Kate Keifer, Amy Blair
- Male Ensemble: Nathan Traxler, David Segal, David Fox Boleyn
- Keyboard 1: David Rohde
- Keyboard 2: Taylor Williams
- Violin: Devon Nicoll
- Reeds: Dana Gardner
- Trumpet: Daniel Lee
- French Horn: Deb Kline
- Trombone: Scott Fridy, Harold Rhoads
- Guitar: Rick Peralta
- Percussion: Jim Hofmann
- Producer: Barbara Wilson
- Director: Natalie Safley
- Assistant Director: Christy Jacobs
- Rehearsal Assistant: Deka Nine
- Music Direction: David Rohde
- Choreography: Jennifer Koonce, Christy Jacobs
- Stunt Choreography: David Austin
- Stage Manager: Colleen Stock
- Set Design/Technical Director: Rick Wilson
- Master Carpenter: Earl Boatman
- Set Painting Design: Cathy Reider
- Lighting Design: Ian Claar
- Lighting Programmer: Earl Boatman
- Light Board Operator: Alex Lee
- Projectionist: Josiah Allen
- Sound Design Effects and Board Operator: Terk Polat
- Sound Design Microphones: Turner Bridgeforth
- Sound Assistants: Kelsey Londregan, Caitlin Simmons
- Costume Design: Mary Ayala-Bush
- Assisted by: Allegra Joffe, Rafie Khoshbin
- Make-up/Masks Design: Kat Brais, Andy Izquierdo
- Publicity: Katerina Paskaris
- House Manager: Neal Warren
Disclaimer: Taking Flight Theatre Company provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6915.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.