"We've been working for six months," said Meehan, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award for co-writing the libretto to Hairspray. "We worked from Act One, Scene One and we're now in Act One, Scene Six. We have six songs written. We're about a year away from completing it."
Meehan said he was leaving New York for Los Angeles on May 20 to put in another couple weeks of work with Brooks. Once the show is written, the duo will decide their next step. "There's no reason at this point in our lives to produce a big flop," he said. "We want Young Frankenstein [to be] fail-safe or to forget it."
The film, which starred Gene Wilder as a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein who goes to Eastern Europe and takes up his ancestor's hobbies, and Peter Boyle as the monster he creates, was one of Brooks' most successful comedies, and, to many film critics, his most consistent and polished work. The movie, a parody of the classic horror films of the 1930s, was made in black and white and featured a famously hilarious scene in which the Frankenstein monster is presented to the public in top hat and tails, performing Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz." Just as the stage version of The Producers kept the song "Springtime for Hitler" from the original film, one imagines this number would be retained in any legitimate adaptation.
Among the story's other characters are the doctor's fiancee (played in the movie by Madeline Kahn), who goes from a prissy virgin to a rapacious vixen with a Bride of Frankenstein hairdo; a comical hunchback (Marty Feldman), who insists on being called "Eye-gor"; a comely fräulein the doctor takes as his mistress (Teri Garr); Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman), a woman so frightening the mention of her name causes horses to rear up; and the rabble-rousing, speech-mangling Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm Friederich Kemp (Kenneth Mars).