I received two complimentary tickets to Drury Lane’s production of “Young Frankenstein” and although I wasn’t required to write about it, I know the folks there appreciate that I did! Pictures furnished by Drury Lane; all words and opinions are mine.
It’s very hard for me to believe that “Young Frankenstein”, the movie written by (and starring) Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, is forty years old this year. The movie is a classic, and still just as relevant and funny now in the 21st century as it was back in the day. I remember seeing the movie for the first time as a teenager back in the 80’s when my family got cable and spent weekends watching movies on HBO. That was right in the middle of my Madeline Kahn phase; she played young Dr. Frankenstein’s fiance in the movie and I thought she was one of the best, most brilliant comediennes on earth.
Fast forward to 2007: Mel Brooks adapted the movie into a musical, and it had a run on Broadway as well as a national tour. (We saw it when it blew through Chicago.)
Fast forward again to last Thursday night: Jim and I headed over to Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace to check out their production of “Young Frankenstein”, the musical.
It was phenomenal. The musical doesn’t stray far from the 1974 film, and it’s just as funny. The story is about a New York-based doctor who is doing his best to distance himself from the “family business” (re-animating the dead). When he gets word that his grandfather has died and he has to travel to Transylvania to settle the estate, his plans take a turn and everything changes.
The cast of characters additionally includes young Dr. Frankenstein’s fiance Elizabeth (a tightly-wound tease), his servant Igor (whose hump can’t seem to decide on which shoulder to reside), his attractive, yodeling lab assistant Inga (who experiences instant attraction to the doctor, of course), slightly scary housekeeper—who is also, as it turns out, the girlfriend of the late elder Dr. Frankenstein—Frau Blücher (insert sound of horses neighing, here), and of course, the monster (who sings and dances to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” like a champ).
The show is full of Mel Brooks’ witty, bawdy style of humor as well as lots of physical comedy. We noticed some hysterical pop culture references that were added to the script for this production (including someone mentioning a hashtag!), and over all the show was a laugh-riot from start to finish.
I thought that this ensemble was superb, both as a unit and individually. I can’t say there were any stand-out performances because they were ALL so good. One of the joys of being in the audience was watching Allison Sill (Inga), who makes her Drury Lane debut in this production and wore how happy she was to be a part of it all over her face.
I highly recommend that you catch this show while you can; there will be eight shows per week through March 16. Tickets cost between $35-49 and student and senior citizen discounts are available, as are lunch and dinner packages. For reservations, visit www.drurylane.com. I want to add that I adore Drury Lane not only because it’s in the western suburbs, I don’t have to deal with city traffic, and parking is completely free, but each production I’ve enjoyed there is just as good as anything you find in the city, and the theater is much more intimately-sized. If you haven’t experienced Drury Lane, you should really check it out!