Back on the Horse: Mel Brooks Penning Songs for Blazing Saddles Musical

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16 Mar 2010

Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Aubrey Reuben

At the end of Mel Brooks' Broadway musical Young Frankenstein, the cast asked, in song, if a stage version of Brooks' hit film "Blazing Saddles" might be also be in the wings. After all, Brooks had already also made a hit stage musical out of his film, "The Producers."

Three's a charm? Brooks is already two songs into Blazing Saddles, the musical, he told the Canadian Press. He's writing a third new number.

The 1974 film comedy spoofs the Hollywood Western genre as it tells of a black sheriff (played by Cleavon Little) in an Old West town. The epithet-packed picture has intolerance and racism on its mind, but is mostly interested in taking absurd comic potshots at the form — and Hollywood icons. Madeline Kahn, for example, played a Marlene Dietrich-style saloon performer (a la "Destry Rides Again") named Lili Von Shtup, who sang a laconic song about sex, "I'm Tired."

The picture also includes a title song (complete with cracking whip) and a (literally) fourth-wall-breaking number, "The French Mistake."

The Tony Award-winning 83-year-old composer-lyricist-librettist told The Canadian Press that if the show materializes, "I wouldn't rush to New York with it because the [New York] Times would say: 'Oh dear, oh dear, another movie converted and transmogrified into a musical.' The Times was only lukewarm to Young Frankenstein, but you know, everybody else was hot — some of the greatest reviews I ever got."



Brooks said it could be completely written within the next year. No production plan or creative team has been announced for the still-gestating Blazing Saddles musical. Thomas Meehan co-wrote the book to The Producers and Young Frankenstein, which were both directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman.

The national tour of Young Frankenstein begins a run at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre on March 17.