It's Halloween-come-early, with added howling laughter, for a new run of Broadway's frightfully funny Mel Brooks' stage romp of "Young Frankenstein" at our entertaining neighbor to the north, Barn Theatre in Augusta, Mich.
Playing now through Sept. 1, it pays homage to the 1974 film of the same name, only with song and dance musical numbers to help the unfolding story following the death of the infamous Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein, creator of the Frankenstein monster of legend.
His grandson, the esteemed New York brain surgeon and professor Frederick Frankenstein (who likes to purposely pronounce his infamous last name so it sounds unlike the family name that haunts him) inherits the castle and laboratory of his grandfather.
Upon arrival in Transylvania, Dr. Frankenstein, played by talented Barn favorite Kevin Robert White, is confronted with a dilemma: does he continue to run from the family business, or does he stay in Transylvania to carry on his grandfather's mad experiments in reanimating the dead?
Together with his oddly shaped, endearing helper, Igor, played by Barn funnyman Roy Brown, Frau Blucher portrayed by Barn leading lady Penelope Alex, and his yodeling, buxum, lab assistant Inga, as played by third year apprentice Bethany Edlund, this group of misfits succeeds in creating a Frankenstein monster, with hilarious mishaps along the way.
Add to all of this Dr. Frankenstein's fussy fiance Elizabeth Benning, played by Emily Fleming and fun quickly unfolds. The show's raucous score includes "The Transylvania Mania," "He Vas My Boyfriend" and an unforgettable rendition of Irving Berlin's "Puttin’ On the Ritz."
This comical continuation of the classic novel by Mary Shelley, opened on Broadway on Nov. 8, 2007 and ran for 485 performances
This run is directed by Brendan Ragotzy with musical direction by Matt Shabala, and choreography by Jamey Grisham. Michael Wilson Morgan is the costume designer and Garrylee McCormick is the hair and wig designer. Set design is by Steven Lee Burright, and Emily Gardner is the properties master. Lighting is designed by Corey Boughton, with Sam Silva as sound designer. Nick Hoovler is the technical director.
When I attend tonight's performance, I'm also looking forward to the after-show fun while checking out the newly renovated Rehearsal Shed Lounge. It's a tradition to stop in before the main stage show, at intermission and after the show for refreshments, snacks, wings, nachos and Plainwell ice cream, as well as free after-the-show entertainment.
The Barn Theatre is located on M-96, west of Augusta. Tickets are $35 for all performances and Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted. The Box Office is open daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST) or barntheatre.com or (269) 731-4121.