Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein at Lakewood Theatre Company (From the Oregon Music News Review)


Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2014, by Holly Johnson, Oregon Music News.

Who but Brooks, with his outrageous, in-your-face humor, would delight in titling a song and dance number “Transylvania Mania?” This is a real winner for the company and for Snider, proof that musicals with humor are surely the best.

Read the full review on the Oregon Music News website.

Young Frankenstein at Lakewood Theatre Company

Humor is divine, the smart spiritual saying goes. So thank the divinities for people like Mel Brooks. But not only can he write brilliant comedy, screenplays, sketches you-name-it. He also can  set it to music.

A few years ago Lakewood Theater brought us the musical version of “The Producers,” Brooks’ classic film about show business from  1968. Now the folks at the theater have gotten smart again and offer Portland audiences the musical version of “Young Frankenstein,” with music and lyrics by Brooks again. Brooks has admitted that “Young Frankenstein,” written with Gene Wilder, was his favorite movie project, made  in 1974 (but set in 1934) as a spoof on the black-and-white horror genre, specifically the 1930s film “Frankenstein,” based on Mary Shelley‘s classic horror novel.

Who but Brooks, with his outrageous, in-your-face humor, would delight in titling a song and dance number “Transylvania Mania?”   Then, there’s  ”He’s Loose,” when Frankenstein’s  hefty monster (the impressive  Greg Gosser) escapes into the village from Castle Frankenstein and the villagers go crazy. The dour and devious Frau Blucher (the rubber-faced Lisa Knox) gets to croon “He Vas My Boyfriend,” when reminiscing about the original Frankenstein. An utter laugh-o-rama, whether you know the movie or not.

Director Michael Snider, who co-choreographs, has kept the pace brisk, and worked out strong details in the big  dance numbers (“Puttin’ on the Ritz”), with help from choreographer Terry Brock. He’s also done a wonderful job of casting. Burl Ross deserves an award for his hump-backed Igor (Marty Feldman played the film role), whose face tells a thousand stories, if not anecdotes. Previously seen at Lakewood in “Spamalot,” Ross offers a marvelous visual presence, and his vast mime experience makes his such a rich performance. Gosser is wonderful as the lumbering monster who learns to tap dance quite adeptly, Evan Howells shines in the Wilder role of young Frankenstein, a neurotic scientist related to the original Frankenstein who, despite his better judgment, can’t resist making a creature with the help of a brain, and Danielle Valentine is sweet and sassy as Inga, the sexpot German who becomes his best girl.This is a real winner for the company and for Snider, proof that musicals with humor are surely the best.

“Young Frankenstein” plays through October 9. Showtimes are  7:30 p.m. most Wednesdays, and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and most Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $37 adults, $35 seniors and $20 for students. Call the box office at 503-635-3901.

Pictured: Lisa Knox, Burl Ross, Evan Howells, and Danielle Valentine in Lakewood Theatre Company's production of Young Frankenstein, playing September 12 - October 19, 2014 at Lakewood Theatre. Photo by Triumph Photograhy


Read the full review on the Oregon Music News website.

More details on the show.