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YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN REVIEW

Here is how "Young Frankenstein" went!

Madelyn Magson, Staff Writer

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The title of the production I was recently in was called “Young Frankenstein” by Mel Brooks. It was located on the mainstage of Plano Children’s Theatre, and was the last production to show on this stage. Plano Children’s Theatre is part of NTPA, or North Texas Performing Arts. The choreographer for the show was Morgan Southard, who was also the director. Some types of dances that were showcased in Young Frankenstein include tap, folk dance, jazz, and ballroom. Since Young Frankenstein showed around Halloween, the dancing style reflected the holiday, especially since the show has a “creepy” feel to it. As being a member of the cast, I loved learning more new dancing styles and it was a wonderful learning experience for me and my cast members to learn and watch the dance forms that were featured.

Young Frankenstein is about a guy named Fredrick Frankenstein, who is a teacher at one of the best medical schools in the nation. Upon hearing about his grandfather, Victor Frankenstein’s death, he travels to Transylvania to help out with the business in the castle. Upon meeting Igor, Inga and Frau Blucher, they convince him to stay and bring monsters to life just as his grandfather did. When his fiance, Elizabeth Benning, arrives in Transylvania, Fredrick has fallen for Inga and has created the monster with her. The monster later kidnaps Elizabeth, and during the search for her, the villagers suspect and find out there is a monster on the loose. When Fredrick, Igor, Inga and Frau catch the monster, the villagers sentence Fredrick to death because the monster supposedly “killed” Elizabeth. However, in a plot twist ending, Elizabeth returns to the town, alive and in love with the monster, creating the perfect fairy tale ending for all the love interests and the story.

My favorite dance was the famous, “Puttin On The Ritz”. This dance was a full 6 minute tap number. The dance is about Fredrick featuring the Monster, showing the “crowd” at the show that he is comprehensive and not a danger to the public by dancing, tapping, and singing. The dance starts with a curtain speech at the village show by Frau Blucher, followed by a blank stage with only the Monster and Fredrick. After their duet, Inga and Igor came onto the stage and joined the tap/singing number. The Monster then has a solo, followed by all the cast coming onstage and tapping. The light cues went along with all the moves, such as strobes and beams when the dancers were jumping for an “in the air” effect, which was SO COOL. The tap was very challenging, and knowing this, I would say the actors did a wonderful job. They were not always in sync, but I could tell they worked very hard. If an actor messed up, they covered very well.

There were three other dance numbers in the show, and they were all very upbeat and entertaining! The first big dance number was called, “Please Don’t Touch Me”. This scene is when Fredick is at the boat docks to leave for Transylvania. As he is saying goodbye to his fiance, Elizabeth, he tries to make to make physical contact with her and she refuses, hence the title. They break out into ballroom dancing, all without touching. It looked hilarious. The onlooking bystanders decide to join in, all in long and flowy ballroom dresses, which was a nice touch to the dance. This dance was funny, and the actors were almost all in sync, creating a great effect and class to the dance.

The next dance was called, “Join the Family Business”. The plot of this dance was Fredrick having a dream in the castle. He dreamt that all his ancestors wanted him to ditch his life in America and create monsters in the castle. The ancestors were all in white lab coats, white shorts and tights, and had mad scientist hair. There were jazz combos shown as duets, group Russian folk dancing, and a lab table and tools as props to convince Fredrick to stay. This dance was spooky, upbeat, and fun.

The last major dance number, besides Puttin On The Ritz, was Transylvania Mania. This took place in the village outside the castle. The plot of this dance was that the villagers wanted to go into the castle because they were suspicious of Fredrick creating more monsters. As the Monster wakes up, there are audible noises coming from inside the castle. Fredrick, Igor and Inga try to cover the noises by creating a dance, while singing and playing trumpet. The dancing featured folk dancing, jazz, and some soft shoe. This was one of the most fun dance numbers in the show because the cast was exploding with energy. The lights were bright and happy, and everyone was in sync. The crowd exploded with cheers, which was a great way to end Act 1.

Overall, this show had some amazing voices and super acting in it, but the wonderful choreography was the cherry on top. I would definitely recommend this show to people over the age of 13 because the content was extremely mature, but had the audience laughing the entire time. This show is also a great Halloween show, especially since it features the fictional character and monster, “Frankenstein”. I wish I could be in the show many more times and it was a wonderful learning experience!

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