OSWEGO — A comic spoof on the legend of Frankenstein comes to life this month as SUNY Oswego’s theatre and music departments present an adaptation based on the 1974 hit film and 2007 Broadway play “Young Frankenstein” in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.
The play will preview at 7:30 p.m. April 24, and run 7:30 p.m. April 25 and 26 and May 3, with the matinee finale at 2 p.m. May 4.
This monster-mash musical comedy, created by legendary screenwriters Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, takes a creative spin on the classic horror-film genre. Based on the 1931 production of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and its 1939 sequel “Son of Frankenstein,” Brooks and Meehan told the story of a struggling scientist who continues his grandfather’s experiments in resurrecting the dead.
“I have purposefully gone out of my way to not copy past work and to assemble a brand-new production that highlights and makes use of the best that the Oswego theatre department has to offer,” said stage director and choreographer Donald Garverick. “The set and costumes are completely unique to this production, and I am blown away by the creativity that the cast has demonstrated. This is truly the SUNY Oswego production of ‘Young Frankenstein,’ a production we can all be very proud of.”
Since 1997, Garverick has directed and choreographed a variety of plays, including the off-Broadway production of “Siren’s Heart,” the sold-out run of “Show Choir! The Musical” at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, which he also co-wrote, and well-received regional productions of “Hair” and “Footloose.”
Garverick will provide tap-dancing lessons for Oswego theatre students and cast members on Mondays and Wednesdays during his time at the college.
In Garverick’s adaptation, a latter-day Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (senior music major Danny Stalter) succeeds in his laboratory, only to struggle to prove the monster he created (played by Jared Gould, a junior dual major in cinema and screen studies and creative writing) is not a monster at all.
The play combines the entertainment values of music and comedy, as well as subliminal messages of misguided judgments and fear of the unknown. The cast members perform various styles of theatre and tap dance as well as mastering European accents and singing in harmony as a barbershop quartet.
The show will include eight full-company dance numbers, including an extended tap number to Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
Music director Todd Graber, chair of Oswego’s music department, offers a great deal of stage experience, including musical direction of past SUNY Oswego productions “Cabaret,” “Big: The Musical,” “Into the Woods” and “Lost in a Viral Paradise.”
Graber also has mentored such vocalists as tenor Kyle Dean Massey of Broadway’s “Wicked” cast, sung on stage professionally for many years and teaches courses in musical theatre.
The original “Young Frankenstein” – with its signature Gene Wilder gag, “No, it’s FRANKENSHTEEN,” and wild-eyed Marty Feldman as Igor (“EYE-gor”) – placed No. 13 on the American Film Institute’s 2005 list of “The 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time.”
The Broadway adaptation of “Young Frankenstein,” directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, ran from November 2007 to January 2009.
Besides Stalter and Gould, SUNY Oswego’s version features Nicole Marlowe as Igor, Morgan Rae Noone as Inga, Ashley Domenech as Elizabeth Benning and Jesse Lessner as Dr. Victor von Frankenstein, Frederick’s grandfather.
Tickets cost $15 ($7 for SUNY Oswego students) and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu and by phone at 315-312-2141. All tickets are $10 for the two Saturday performances, April 26 and May 3, and $5 for the April 24 preview.
Parking is included in the price of the ticket, and is available in the lots in front and to the east of Culkin Hall.
People with disabilities needing assistance should call 315-312-2141 in advance of the performance.