Young Frankenstein Ends on Broadway, But a Tour Is Planned

News   Young Frankenstein Ends on Broadway, But a Tour Is Planned The Mel Brooks-Thomas Meehan musical Young Frankenstein plays its final performance at Broadway's Hilton Theatre Jan. 4.

Roger Bart in Young Frankenstein.
Roger Bart in Young Frankenstein. Photo by Paul Kolnik

When it closes, the musical, based on the non-musical film of the same name, will have played 30 previews and 484 regular performances since opening in fall 2007.

A national tour will launch in fall 2009. Casting and tour route have not been announced.

In a statement, lead producer Robert F.X. Sillerman said, "Once again it has been a joy to work with such tremendous talents, Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman. Young Frankenstein's magnificent creative team and cast are second to none. As anyone who has seen this stunning production can attest, it is a spectacular and extravagant musical. In these uncertain economic times, my partners and I have decided to end our run on Broadway and focus our efforts on the first national tour, which will launch in September 2009."

The producers broke with a Broadway tradition and did not announce its weekly box-office grosses. Prior to opening, the producers announced a premium top ticket price of $450, prompting people in the industry to charge them with greed and arrogance. Others called them brave and said that if the market could bear it, why not? The Producers, after all, had been a sensation.

In fall 2007, the show's top ticket prices were $450 and $375 for "premier" seats, with plenty of $120 seats available in and around the same area of the orchestra. That high-price offer was established in anticipation of high demand for the show. "Dynamic pricing" was in effect for the show. That is, if the $450 seats did not sell, they were released at the box office (at a time to be determined by the producers) for $120 — the standard price for a Broadway orchestra seat. Conversely, if all allotted $450 seats were sold, additional seats priced at $120 could be marked up to $450. It was all about what the market would allow.

Sillerman later said in interviews that the high pricing was not a good idea. No announcement of recoupment was made.

Sillerman and Mel Brooks in association with The R/F/B/V Group produced the new musical, which has an official title of The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein.

*

Young Frankenstein began previews on Broadway Oct. 11, 2007, and officially opened Nov. 8, 2007, after a tryout in Seattle. The original cast boasted Tony Award winner Roger Bart as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein with Megan Mullally (as the doctor's love interest, Elizabeth), Tony winner Sutton Foster (as comely assistant Inga, who sings a number called "Roll in the Hay"), Tony winner Shuler Hensley (The Monster), Tony winner Andrea Martin (as castle matron Frau Blucher), Fred Applegate (as Transylvanian policeman Inspector Kemp, and a Hermit) and Christopher Fitzgerald (as hunchback Igor).

Young Frankenstein was named Best Broadway Musical 2008 by the Outer Critics Circle Award.

The current company includes Roger Bart, Shuler Hensley, Beth Leavel, Fred Applegate, Cory English, Michele Ragusa, and Kelly Sullivan.

The musical features a score by Mel Brooks and a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Susan Stroman directed and choreographed. That same team was responsible for Brooks' previous effort, the Tony-winning The Producers, which ran five times as long: 33 previews and regular 2,502 performances.

Based on the Oscar-nominated smash hit 1974 film, Young Frankenstein "is the wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic from the comic genius of Mel Brooks. When Frederick Frankenstein, an esteemed New York brain surgeon and professor, inherits a castle and laboratory in Transylvania from his grandfather, deranged genius Victor Von Frankenstein, he faces a dilemma. Does he continue to run from his family's tortured past or does he stay in Transylvania to carry on his grandfather's mad experiments reanimating the dead and, in the process, fall in love with his sexy lab assistant Inga?"

Set "in the forbidding Castle Frankenstein and the foggy moors of Transylvania Heights," the show's score includes "The Transylvania Mania," "He Vas My Boyfriend" and the unforgettable treatment of Irving Berlin's "Puttin' On the Ritz."

The original cast album is on the Decca Broadway label and includes an overture created for the disc.

The production team includes three Tony Award-winning designers of The Producers: three-time Tony Award-winning set designer Robin Wagner, five-time Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski. Hair and wig design is by Producers veteran Paul Huntley. Jonathan Deans is the sound designer. Two other Producers alumni complete the music department: Tony-award winning orchestrator Doug Besterman and musical director and vocal arranger Patrick S. Brady.

Music supervisor Glen Kelly, who made Brooks' songs for The Producers soar, returned for this project.

Marc Brickman designed the special effects, Angelina Avallone is the make-up designer, casting is by Tara Rubin Casting, and John Miller (The Producers) is music coordinator.

For more information visit YoungFrankensteinTheMusical.com.