"Young Frankenstein" was unleashed thirty six years ago upon the Deerfield Beach Ultravision, which is now the home of the South Florida Bible College. For six graders like myself and Mark Lindell, "Young Frankenstein" was holy scripture. We quoted lines and became fans of Irving Berlin's catchy tune, “Putin' on the Ritz,” except we would imitate the Monster's intonation of the words, “Putin'onDaRITZZZZZZZ !!!”
When Peter Boyle (the actor who portrayed the Monster in Mel Brooks' mad cap comedy) walked down the red carpet at the 2005 Palm Beach International Film Festival Gala at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, I reached out and said to Mr. Boyle, “Let me shake hands with the Monster!” Mr. Boyle shook my hand, then wanted to know if I was an American.
"Young Frankenstein" was a homage to the "Frankenstein" movies starring Boris Karloff. Shot in black and white, the attention to detail was phenomenal. The same Kenneth Strickfade machinery used in the 1931 film was recreated for the 1974 film. Thanks to the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery, Boy Scouts had an opportunity to view a replication of the Strickfaden machinery being used the new Mel Brooks musical currently playing at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
As fun Halloween entertainment, "Young Frankenstein" delivers both mirth and music. The plot of the musical follows the plot of the 1974 movie. Professor Frederick Frankenstein (Christopher Ryan) is summoned to Transvania to settle the estate of his ancestor, the much despised Victor Frankenstein. Upon arrival and meeting humpbacked Igor (Cory English) and voluptuous Inga (Synthia Link), Frederick feels the calling of the Frankenstein blood and creates his own Monster (Preston Truman Boyd).
By this point of the musical, the audience had absorbed many trademark gags from the first movie (“Walk this Way”) and some increasing improving musical numbers. Among the musical highlights of the first act includes Elizabeth's (Janine Divita) rendition of “Please Don't Touch Me,” Inga's “Roll in the Hay” and fantastically staged number“ ”Join the Family Business,“ in which a 24 foot Frankenstein Monster is created on stage in a dream sequence.
The second act builds in momentum with the elaborately staged “Puttin' on the Ritz,” which developers the original soft shoe number into a full fledged Buby Berkeley number. While Christopher Ryan dominates the show as the title character, Preston Truman Boyd is given his moment to shine with the Monster performing solo, in a duet with his shadow and then with a large chorus. This number should have been repeated as an encore, it was that good.
"Young Frankenstein" will only be Fort Lauderdale for another week, see it before the wagons hitch a ride to Schenectady. If you miss it, then pick up the DVD. Both musical and DVD will leave you with a smile on your face.SUPER DOOPER!!!!