When the national Broadway tour for "Young Frankenstein" arrived for a run in Chicago in October 2009, I was excited to see something that promised to be frighteningly funny.
However, there wasn't much humor resurrected as I recall. And looking back at my column review from November 2009, the headline said it all: "Broadway's Chicago bow of 'Young Frankenstein' old, stiff and not too funny."
Four years later, the show I'd been waiting to enjoy has arrived as a local creation better than anything anticipated.
Actor Travis Taylor stars as The Monster in this new production of the Mel Brooks Broadway invention "Young Frankenstein" now at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook for a run that continues until March 16.
Taylor is in fine form and joined by an all-star talented cast including dapper Devin DeSantis as the repressed and unpredictable Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, Jeff Dumas as Igor with Allison Sill as Inga, fittingly as the funny parody pair, and best of all, Johanna McKenzie Miller at her chilly, silly best as the mad scientist's fussy love interest Elizabeth Benning. Paula Scrofano is right at home stepping into the too-tight high button heels of housekeeper Frau Blücher.
Audiences get a lot of bang for their buck at Drury Lane Theatre, which is the signature promise for this favorite venue where dining prior is part of the wonderful experience.
With this new imagining of "Young Frankenstein," I was impressed right from the opening moments in a spooky graveyard (which lapses into a kooky, fantastic opening production number). In fact, there were a few scenes and funny lines I had entirely forgotten. (And I'd just seen an earlier summer stock production of "Young Frankenstein" in Michigan last September.)
This production is directed by Drury Lane Theatre Artistic Director William Osetek and masterfully choreographed by Jeff Award winner Tammy Mader. The creative talents have also assembled a fine supporting cast. I was especially impressed with the perfect timing and ability to character morph by Scott Calcagno, who does double duty as both Inspector Hans Kemp and the Blind Hermit. Calcagno's time on stage, alone, is worth the price of this ticket. Kevin Depinet has once again topped his own creative abilities with a scenic design that resembles an eerie portrait masterpiece. Jeff Parker also gets a tip of the top hat for his powerful personification of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a role that is often lost in the fog in previous incarnations of this stage story, based on the 1974 Mel Brooks film of the same name.
Performances for "Young Frankenstein" are 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, in addition to the 8 p.m. Thursday performances, 8 p.m. Fridays, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 6 p.m. Sundays. Lunch and dinner theater packages range from $50 to $74 depending on the day of the week. Student tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizen tickets start as low as $32 for matinées and $47 for a matinée luncheon package. FYI: (630) 530-0111 or drurylane.com.