Will Young Frankenstein Check Into the Hilton?

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24 Apr 2007

Mel Brooks' new musical Young Frankenstein, which was originally scheduled to follow The Producers into the St. James Theatre later this year, is now considering the Hilton Theatre, according to published reports.



The Hilton's current tenant is The Pirate Queen, an expensive show that received mixed reviews. Last week, the show grossed $693,237, a drop of $64,097 from the previous week. Theatre owners can evict a show if it goes below a certain point.

The large physical production of Frankenstein would perhaps fit better into the Hilton, which has a bigger stage area than the St. James. The Hilton also has more seats, which could mean greater profit for the producers.

Young Frankenstein, based on Brooks' 1974 film, has a score by Brooks, a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman — the same team that turned The Producers into gold.

The likely stars are Tony Award winners Shuler Hensley (in the role of the monster, played by Peter Boyle in the film) and Sutton Foster (Inga, the Teri Garr role), along with the former "Will & Grace" star Megan Mullally (Elizabeth, the Madeline Kahn role).

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The film 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. It 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, this number will be retained in the legitimate adaptation (the Berlin estate OKed it).

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).