West Potomac High School Young Frankenstein the MusicalBy Cappies • May 2nd, 2013 • Category: Cappies
Forget about the foxtrot! Have you heard of the Transylvania Mania? As the audience was whisked away into this latest dance craze, energy and humor filled the theatre in West Potomac High School’s production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein the Musical, where The Monster is only one of many things that came to life.
Following the success of Brooks’ 2001 musical, The Producers, Young Frankenstein the Musical is based on the critically acclaimed film of the same name. Collaborating with Thomas Meehan on the show’s book and serving as the lyricist, composer, and producer, Brooks took the production to Broadway in 2007. Opening to mixed reviews, Young Frankenstein ran for 484 performances, later spawning a U.S. tour in 2009. The plot centers on Victor Frankenstein’s grandson, Frederick Frankenstein, who is ashamed of his family name so much that he has changed its pronunciation. Upon hearing of his grandfather’s death, Frederick journeys to Transylvania to settle the estate’s affairs and is met by hunchback Igor, the zany grandson of Victor’s henchman, and Inga, an attractive woman looking to be Frederick’s new lab assistant. Discovering his grandfather’s formula for immortality, Frederick must decide whether he wants to “join the family business” and face the consequences of his own creation.
Effectively emulating the stylized movements and aura of Mel Brooks, the cast and crew contributed their best effort to a highly enjoyable performance, their passion and enthusiasm most evident in large ensemble numbers such as “Transylvania Mania” and “Puttin’ On The Ritz.”
Heading the cast as the title character, Ben Roberts as Frederick Frankenstein proved himself to be a triple-threat performer, delivering soaring vocals with ease, displaying a variety of emotions, and executing synchronized choreography flawlessly. Roberts’ puzzled facial expressions comically emphasized the wackiness of others around him. Opposite Roberts was the equally talented Katie Carbone as Inga, a true powerhouse of energy. Carbone, too, showcased impeccable vocal skill and control, from her effortless belting to her comedic yodeling to her convincing German accent. Together, Roberts and Carbone believably connected and created many hilariously entertaining moments, especially in “Roll In The Hay.”
Also exhibiting spot-on comedic timing was David Jarzen as Igor, frolicking across the stage within seconds, his nimble physical mannerisms and waggish demeanor perfectly capturing his character. As The Monster, Dan Evans skillfully transformed from the jarring groans and daunting expressions of a misunderstood creature to the bashful smiles of an accepted friend.
In terms of technical elements, the stage crew immediately stood out with their smooth, incredibly fast-paced scene transitions. Having to move many different set pieces and switch backdrops, at times even during a musical number, the crew handled each challenge with professionalism. Student-made props included a giant Frankenstein puppet and brain machine, which contributed to the eerie nature of the show. Despite a few missed sound cues, the technical team handled the elaborate scene elements commendably.
Beneath the wackiness and glitzy musical songs, there is an epic tale of love, friendship, and self-discovery. The cast and crew of Young Frankenstein the Musical successfully brought this tale to life, combining gut-splitting humor with heartfelt moments, bringing the audience to a well-deserved standing ovation.
by Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf of Langley High School
Photos by Amin Yachnes
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