Loading…
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Thursday, 5/29/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

PEACH WEEKENDER: THEATER

The Rep’s 'Young Frankenstein' alive with laughs

Musical revivification of classic Mel Brooks film keeps all the silliness, smarts of original

BY SUE BRICKEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Trent Dorner (Dr. Frederick Frankenstein), Patrick Boyer (Igor), and Kristen Kukic (Inga) rehearse a scene ‘Young Frankenstein.’ Trent Dorner (Dr. Frederick Frankenstein), Patrick Boyer (Igor), and Kristen Kukic (Inga) rehearse a scene ‘Young Frankenstein.’
TODD MICHAELS Enlarge

If you need a good laugh — lots of them — the best place to look will be the Toledo Repertoire Theatre’s 10th Street Stage, where the musical comedy Young Frankenstein opens June 6.

The Broadway show, which debuted in 2007 and is officially known as The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein, was written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, with music and lyrics by Brooks. It was inspired by the hilarious 1974 film of the same name, written by Brooks and Gene Wilder (who also starred) and directed by Brooks.

It’s a fun way to wrap up the Rep’s 2013-2014 Main Stage season.

“I love Mel Brooks. I love his sense of humor,” director Amy Spaulding-Heuring said in a telephone interview. “It’s silly, but it’s intellectually silly.” With Young Frankenstein, Brooks expects the audience to understand the iconic Frankenstein movie franchise — that [the films] were done in the ’30s and filmed in black-and-white — and understand the Mary Shelley story, she said, “but then he puts his own spin on it.”

Brooks’ musical, an homage to the classic black-and-white Frankenstein movies, centers on what happens when Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, a medical professor, goes to Transylvania to settle the estate of his grandfather, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. When he gets there, he finds a new assistant, Igor, and housekeeper Frau Blucher. And soon he is faced with a decision: Should he remain a respectable professor and keep his socialite fiancee, Elizabeth Benning, or give his heart to his true love, Inga, and continue the family tradition by attempting to create a Monster?

Spaulding-Heuring and the cast have spent eight weeks in rehearsal (it will be 10 weeks by the time the show opens), and the moment in the musical that still cracks them up is the number “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” “If they can still laugh at that, it’s great,” she said.

The Rep’s cast includes Trent Dorner as Frederick Frankenstein, Patrick Flanagan as Victor Frankenstein, Patrick Boyer as Igor, Lydia Schafer as Frau Blucher, Lindsey Denham as Elizabeth Benning, Kristen Kukic as Inga, and Reed Reamsnyder as the Monster.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. June 6, 7, 13, and 14; at 2:30 p.m. June 15; at 8 p.m. June 19, 20, 21, and at 2:30 p.m. June 22. Tickets, $25 general admission, $23 seniors, and $10 students, may be purchased at toledorep.org, or at the box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 419-243-9277. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office one hour before a performance.

 

‘Black and Beautiful’

Jennifer Smith performs during a rehearsal of ‘I Am Black and Beautiful.’ The play by Toledoan Joyce Lewis Alexandria will be staged at 6:30 p.m. Friday and noon and 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Scott High School. Jennifer Smith performs during a rehearsal of ‘I Am Black and Beautiful.’ The play by Toledoan Joyce Lewis Alexandria will be staged at 6:30 p.m. Friday and noon and 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Scott High School.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

I Am Black and Beautiful, a play by Toledoan Joyce Lewis Alexandria, who writes poetry under the name Soliloquy, will be presented Friday and Saturday at Scott High School.

The play, which features a cast of 10 African-American women whose ages range from 20s to mid-50s, is entirely based on poetry written by Alexandria. The actresses step forward one by one to speak of their character’s lives.

The message of her play, Alexandria said in a telephone interview, is that women of color truly are “black and beautiful.”

The drama was inspired by the strength of African-American women. Alexandria said wanted to give a view of how black women deal with the adversities in life as well as the good things. Her poetry offers insights on love, sex, religion, depression, addiction, and the courage and endurance of women.

The cast includes Alexandria; her sister, Jennifer Lewis, and Charneal Merrell, Jacqueline Hatcher, Kimberly Douglas-Hueston, Malaika Bell, Tera Johnson, Jennifer Smith, Cynthia Valentine, and Katherine Westbrook.

The play is directed by Alexandria; her husband, Vincent Alexandria, who also is a published author, and Sylvia Carter, who has appeared on Broadway stages.

In addition to writing poetry, Alexandria is an author, actress, and model. She has appeared on episodes of the Pasadena, Calif., television show Spend a Little Time with Poetry, and wrote the popular children’s book Sir Haunz and Gertrude’s Great Escape. She has written church plays, but this is her first communitywide endeavor. “It’s been fun and exciting to see the women who auditioned and the cast that we [selected],” she said.

Performances are at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and at noon and 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Scott High School, 2400 Collingwood Blvd. Tickets are $10 for the evening performances and $5 for the matinee. A portion of the proceeds will go to Scott High School.

Contact Sue Brickey at: sbrickey@theblade.com.



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.

Related stories