Hi Harry, I’m not sure if there’s much of a cross section of Broadway musical fans and AINTITCOOL readers. In fact, it might just be me. But I know I’m not the only one who thinks Young Frankenstein is amongst the best comedies of all time. There was seldom a weekend growing up that Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, History of the World, or Young Frankenstein was not in the VCR. So it’s with sadness, great sadness, that I report Young Frankenstein: The Musical is a dull monster that never should have been brought back to life. And to take the cheesy Frankenstein references one step further, after the remarkable adaptation of The Producers, lightning did not strike Mel Brooks twice. Actually, this musical’s much closer in quality to the ill-fated movie adaptation of the musical adaptation of The Producers. I saw Young Frankenstein months ago during a preview in Seattle , and I really didn’t want to write a negative review of any Mel Brooks show. But with the high end tickets going for $400, I felt obligated to save some AINTITCOOL New York readers a couple of sheckels. (As Mr. Brooks himself would say, it’s a shonda). Not saying that the show’s all bad. Andrea Martin is (not surprisingly) hysterical in the Cloris Leachman role of Frau. Her solo “He Was My Boyfriend,” lamenting her lust-filled affair with the original Dr. Frank, is easily the comic highlight of the first act. Roger Bart doesn’t quite erase the indelible image of Gene Wilder, but brings his own nervous energy to the part (though I wish he did more of the slow burn that Wilder used so effectively). The production design and lighting were fine, as was the choreography. And “Puttin’ on the Ritz”… yeah, it’s still hysterical. Unfortunately, there’s a massive problem at the core of this show. The original Young Frankenstein’s stroke of genius was how close it stuck to the original source material. I got to see it on the big screen a few years back, and it’s just a gorgeous-looking film. If you don’t notice Marty Feldman’s face, you’d swear you’re watching Bride of Frankenstein. Young Frank’s the straightest, least cheeky of all Mel’s comedies. But once you add music and hammier acting to the proceedings, all sense of horror verisimilitude goes out the window. Dracula has been successfully produced for the stage. I wish Mel took some more cues from that, and less from the borschbelt. The music leaves your head the second the songs end, as do the vast majority of the jokes. Mel’s always been about throwing a thousand one-liners at his audience. Just this time, so few of them actually work. The best punchlines you already know, and they were all done better in the movie. The worst part of this show, however, is Will and Grace’s Megan Mullally. I’ll admit, I never cared much for her on that show (which I also didn’t care much for.) And I think Madeline Kahn was one of the greatest comic actresses of her time. So I watched Megan’s performance with VERY low expectations. Somehow, she was even worse than I could have imagined (or feared). EVERY LINE IS DELIVERED IN AN ENTIRELY DIIFERENT GRATING VOICE. She doesn’t seem to interact with the other people on stage. All she seems to care about is the audience. This is by no means the worst Broadway-bound show I’ve seen (the post-Rent hookers musical THE LIFE takes that honor). And I doubt my review will dissuade many readers. (If I read this, I’d still probably go see it). I’ll confess that the Seattle audience ate it up like chocolate chip pancakes. Maybe they were looking for any kind of happiness after the miserable Mariners meltdown. It’s also possible that they worked out some of the kinks since the previews. I’d just say save your money for that new Blade Runner special edition. Or go buy 20 copies of the original Young Frankenstein on DVD. If you use this, call me LizardMan
Oct. 26, 2007, 5:16 a.m. CST
FIRST!!!! YAYAYYAAY!! HEHEHEH. SO SIQ.
Oct. 26, 2007, 5:23 a.m. CST
Still wouldnt mind seeing this on the stage..... bugger it im gonna watch Young Frankenstien on DVD over the weekend, I could do with beeing cheered up what with all this JLA shitstorm happening at the moment!
Oct. 26, 2007, 5:30 a.m. CST
She was one-of-a-kind.
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:01 a.m. CST
by Boondock Devil
Because nothing will top how perfect the cast and movie was to begin with.
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:18 a.m. CST
I'll skip this mess. Thanks for the review.
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:20 a.m. CST
by Thomas Cromwell
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST
by Darth Hidious
Only the rates have gone up!
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:37 a.m. CST
I always loved that line.
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:44 a.m. CST
by Anna Valerious
It's at times like these I wish that "Dance of the Vampires" wasn't screwed up. HOWEVER, the fact that they have the same guy who played the monster in "Van Helsing" as the monster in this one just makes me wanna see it regardless. (And yes, he's a broadway actor, he also played Kerchak in "Tarzan", which really would've benefited from a theater in the round setting. And you should see the recently filmed version of "Oklahoma" with him and his 'little brother' Hugh.)
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:51 a.m. CST
by Darth Hidious
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:52 a.m. CST
by Darth Hidious
There castle - There wolf!
Oct. 26, 2007, 7:16 a.m. CST
What this guy saw was a preview prformance. There was much fne tuning done to the show. I have heard a couple of people who have seen some of the final preview performances in New York that say th show if frickin hysterical. I cat wait for this to come to Dallas. Oh, and Quint, Fort Worth is getting Spmalot next summer! Make sure you see the full version and not the chopped up watered down Vegas version.
Oct. 26, 2007, 7:18 a.m. CST
I thought you wanted me to.
Oct. 26, 2007, 7:55 a.m. CST
by Darth Hidious
Oct. 26, 2007, 8 a.m. CST
by Col. Tigh-Fighter
Sheer genuis! And Madeleine Khan is surely the hardest act to follow. Shame about this :(
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:01 a.m. CST
by The Alienist
I am far far FAR from a snobby rich person whose need to go to the theatre is epic. It literally feeds my soul. I can't afford it at all but I find a way. Having said that....I probably do think I'm better than everyone else....just not because I go to the theatre...
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:13 a.m. CST
by Birdys Piano Teacher
There wolf. There castle.
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:25 a.m. CST
...and nobody's got me...Yakka-da-dah! Yakka-da-dah! <p>Marty Feldman was so fucking brilliant (as is everyone else in that movie).</p>
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:33 a.m. CST
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:36 a.m. CST
Ever notice that Mel Brooks' movies began to go downhill when he stopped working with Gene Wilder?
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:41 a.m. CST
definitely the best female actress of her time, and also the funniest and she wasn't even a comedian. No one would be able to emulate or top her performances. It's just not done.
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:46 a.m. CST
I just saw Young Frankenstein last Saturday (and, no, I didn't pay $400 for tickets), and it was brilliant. Rodger Bart was not in the performance that I saw ( apparently he has a back injury that has kept him from the stage since 10.13.07 ) but it was still a great theater experience. The set design was unbelieveable, and the cast was top-notch. Personally, I think Andrea Martin stole the show. I have to admit that I wasn't sure about Megan Mullally (a great bit of stunt casting) after the first act, but she came out swinging in the second. The jokes are all there, with even a tease of Blazing Saddles coming next... Only time (and theater receipts) will tell...
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:55 a.m. CST
by vic twenty
Comedic GOLD. A Halloween tradition around the Twenty house.
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:57 a.m. CST
I want this show to kick my ass on All Hallows Eve. I have faith that the show has gotten better since this reviewer saw it. Thats what the previews are for, to work out the kinks, solidify the performances, etc. I'm looking forward to it.
Oct. 26, 2007, 9:30 a.m. CST
If this reviewer saw the show "a few months ago in Seattle," chances are a lot has changed since he saw it. That's why Broadway shows open out-of-town, to see what works and what doesn't. It's like going to a movie screening. Although I haven't seen it, I agree with the reviewer in that I canNOT stand Megan Mullally and HATED Will & Grace. I saw her in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" with Matthew Broderick ten years ago and she was horrible.
Oct. 26, 2007, 9:39 a.m. CST
by Anna Valerious
-sings- "Roll, roll, roll in ze hay..."
Oct. 26, 2007, 9:43 a.m. CST
by Darth Macchio
Sure it's my opinion but still...musicals suck! Not at all into that genre and nothing can touch the original (Where are you Gene Wilder??!?!?!?! We miss you!!!).
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:01 a.m. CST
FIRST! To use that quote. Ha! And don't any motherfucker write NEW musicals these days?
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:03 a.m. CST
In anything. End of story.
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:13 a.m. CST
Can the man not come up with anything orginal anymore and just ride his best into an on-stage sunset?
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:28 a.m. CST
You know it's coming.
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:37 a.m. CST
Please, Mel, re-release the film in theaters.
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:52 a.m. CST
I'm not saying she's great in this, but Megan Mullally was a Broadway actress long before Will and Grace, so it's not stunt casting really at all. Mullally is remarkable because she is one of the first actresses in the modern Broadway era to belt all her songs like Streisand, especially in a show that does not necessarily call for belting, like How 2 Succeed in Business... She's a very good actress, and it's just unfortunate that because of her absolutely iconic performance as Karen on Will and Grace she will never be able to play anything else. A little bit like Don Knotts.
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:59 a.m. CST
My Mom and Sister saw this when they were in Seattle and they both said that it was great. Also, the Mariners were playing great almost the entire time that the show was in Seattle, so I don't think that's a very valid reason for why people liked it.
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:11 a.m. CST
Young Frankenstein was filmed with vintage 1930s cameras (the same ones Bogdonavich used for Paper Moon. the B/W photography, the heavy makeup and the perfect recreation of the original sets, down to using the original Frankenstein lab equipment from the first movie. Because it looked like a vintage horror film all the comedy played better. Compare this to "Dracula, Dead and Loving It", everything was too bright and the camerawork was pretty ordinary, and the actors didn't commit to the roles the way the cast of Young Frankenstein does. If they can capture the look and feel of a classic horror film on the stage, it would probably improve the show 100%.
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:17 a.m. CST
by Barry Egan
I really don't see how he can do that without totally reworking the ending. The brawl all over the Warners backlot really can't be filmed and I've always felt the highlight of Blazing Sadlles is Dom Deluise as the director of the musical that gets interrupted. "Sounds like steam escaping..."
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:24 a.m. CST
That chick playing the Lady in the Lake is funny as fuck.
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:39 a.m. CST
by Big Bad Clone
What are you doing in the bathroom all day and night? Get out and let someone else have a turn!
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:44 a.m. CST
"Sorry, too late."
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:44 a.m. CST
The Producers movie? A dud. Awful movie. Maybe some kind of magic happened during the stage production, because I can't understand how anyone saw Broderick and Lane in those roles and didn't throw up when mentally comparing them to Wilder and Mostel. I couldn't even watch The Producers through to the end - I had to go watch the original just to remind myself that the material was at one time hysterical. <p>And now, after the likely successful run of Young Frankenstein on Broadway, we'll probably be subjected to a new film version as well. Young Frankenstein is the Citizen Kane of comedy film. That's not hyperbole, folks, I consider it to be the funniest movie ever made. <p><p>Sigh. . . .Still, I can't complain too loudly - it's not like the original Young Frankenstein is going anywhere. I'll always be able to watch and enjoy it, no matter how repugnant this new version may be.<p><p>P.S. Nathan Lane actually wasn't half bad in the film version of The Producers - but Broderick and Thurman? Holy God.
Oct. 26, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST
Oct. 26, 2007, 12:25 p.m. CST
So I'm guessing King Triton isn't in the stage version?
Oct. 26, 2007, 12:30 p.m. CST
SILENT MOVIE: THE MUSICAL!! <p></p> You know it to be true.
Oct. 26, 2007, 12:41 p.m. CST
by Stark Industries
a remake of YF. IM will star as the monster and do a rendition of 'Puttn on the Ritz'. (We'll have to tape the Top Hat on...) -Stark
Oct. 26, 2007, 12:58 p.m. CST
I think a lot of the fault lies with the director. Brooks has a lot of faith in Susan Stroman--who is brilliant in choreographing dance scenes and stagecraft, but she isn't particularly adept at comedy. that REALLY showed in the PRODUCERS movie musical. so much of this inability to do the funny stuff plays out in YF the musical. i saw it in Seattle and (of course) was thrilled by the stagecraft, but the comedy was leaden.
Oct. 26, 2007, 1:22 p.m. CST
by Bungion Boy
The Producers and this are two of my favorite films. The Producers worked as a Broadway musical becasue it was about Broadway musicals. I can't imagine seeing Young Frankenstein in color and with more than that one perfect song. I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Really like Bart and Martin. Hopefully they'll be enough for me to enjoy it.
Oct. 26, 2007, 2:05 p.m. CST
by Reel American Hero
It's only a matter of time...
Oct. 26, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST
and they must have worked out the kinks from Seattle to the frog and toe because the show was spectacular. The criticisms this guy brings up can really be applied to all musical comedies. The songs take a backseat to the jokes and it results in less than memorable melodies so youre not going to be humming them afterwards like you would otherwise be if you just got out of Phantom or Cats. The sets and overall production value have never been better for a Broadway show. Millions went into this for sure. Puttin on the Ritz isnt only still funny but the choreography by Susan Stroman is electric. There's one moment where the stage fills up with top hat Frankensteins and they leap in the air as a black light freeze frames them while striking various poses off the ground. Its the highlight and it should be. Go see it if you have the $ or you know someone to get in. Its worth it. What? Would you rather check out Legally Blonde or the Drowsy Chaperone? Thought not.
Oct. 26, 2007, 4:01 p.m. CST
by Jonas Grumpy
"I know our own Quint went berserk trying to get to SPAMELOT during its Broadway run. Now they’re taking one of the greatest film comedies of the ‘70s and bringing it to the stage as a musical." NOW? What the fuck was "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," then?
Oct. 26, 2007, 4:04 p.m. CST
by Jonas Grumpy
The next time you watch "High Anxiety," imagine Gene in the role Mel played. Imagine how much funnier the movie would have been had that happened. (Except maybe for the scene at the airport metal detector.) Was Gene supposed to have been the star? Did Mel use himself as a last-minute replacement? Who's the dummy writing this show?
Oct. 26, 2007, 5:10 p.m. CST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44Zl89UktgU Can this classic film be a good musical? I'm not too sure.
Oct. 26, 2007, 5:26 p.m. CST
by Thomas Cromwell
"So what do you want me to do about it?" "Every day!" "Let him, let him!"
Oct. 26, 2007, 5:29 p.m. CST
When I think of how funny this movie is and how much it has made me laugh over the last 25 years of my life, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder can poop in a box if they wants to. Funny is funny.
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:04 p.m. CST
by tk 421
I'll say straight up that musical theater is not my bag. Mostly because I can't sing or dance so I never was in any musicals. However, it's preposterous to make a statement that theater in general should be put down for good. For one, it's an excellent training ground for real actors. These are people who pay their dues and learn their craft. Unlike most of the underwear models that are up on the big screen today. I can't even begin to list the number of great actors in film today who got their start in the theater. If you don't like the experience of live theater, then so be it. But it's still a vital and relevant art form that's enjoyed by millions of people. And no, it's not just snobs ands and the rich. I'm fucking poor as hell and take any chance I get to see a show.
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:18 p.m. CST
While I can agree that Mulaly was an audience whore, the way the role was written it worked. This is theatre and every thing is exagerated in theatre so the adaption happily married the original with the stage. As I saw the last show before it's Broadway debut, I think it all came together. Way better than The Producers, and the production design was the best I had ever seen. This will gain a whole new audience for Brookes' genius as the girl I took (Geeks have girlfriends?) didn't care for the original, but loved the play.
Oct. 26, 2007, 6:35 p.m. CST
"Myself, a poor, old blind man and you a mute...an incredibly big mute." <br><br> Just wanted to show some love for Gene Hackman's cameo. "Where are you going? I was gonna make espresso."
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:26 p.m. CST
Right up there with the wonderfully muffled "Now listen to me very carefully..."
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:27 p.m. CST
"I didn't make a 'yummy' sound..."
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:27 p.m. CST
"Do NOT open this door!"
Oct. 26, 2007, 8:48 p.m. CST
"Here comes another pigeon. Let's cornhole this fucker by remaking movies as Broadway musicals. Fucking suckers."
Oct. 26, 2007, 10:10 p.m. CST
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:34 p.m. CST
and I'll take the one in the turban..." Give it up for Marty Feldman, y'all. And I would not dare call a woman who does not like the original YF my "girlfriend". I would instead refer to her as "a female acquaintance who makes me sandwiches and occasionally allows me to bask in the warm glow of her vagina." My girlfriend has shit taste in music, but if she didn't appreciate Young Frankenstein, it would be over. OVER I TELL YOU!
Oct. 26, 2007, 11:50 p.m. CST
I feel I should point out that one of the reasons the "film" version of the broadway show was so bad is that it really was not a film at all -- it was little more than a taping of the stage show... It was really much better as a stage production. There were also a lot of theater "in" jokes that added layers of humor to just about every scene.
Oct. 27, 2007, 2:51 a.m. CST
Peter Boyle pure genius as the monster,...classic film...but, this musical thing...really,...if it sucks as the reviewer claims, so what?...if you are stupid enough to pay $400 or more for tickets to this or anything you deserve to be ripped because you are a fool...use your brain, watch the original, be greatly entertained, and save a nice stash of cash
Oct. 27, 2007, 10:14 a.m. CST
Well she'd have been good anyway.
Oct. 27, 2007, 2:30 p.m. CST
She habitually mugs, perpetully grandstanding with a loud, grating voice. Of course, Mullally is a lame substitute for Kahn (no less offensive than comparing Adam Sandler to Cary Grant). In regard to YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (the movie), I thought Gene Wilder's performance was the scene-stealer. Good night and drive carefully--
Oct. 27, 2007, 4:41 p.m. CST
Me and some bros took a road trip to see a football game a month ago and came back from the bars Saturday at 2am dead tired and having to wake up at 730 to make the tailgate. Young Frankenstein happened to be starting up on TV as we prepared to crash. No one slept until 4. Goddam classic. Blazing Saddles wins by a vulgar pinch, but still...does Mel really need the money that badly now?
Oct. 28, 2007, 12:03 a.m. CST
For a brief moment, I thought they were remaking it. *Thank God*
Oct. 28, 2007, 3:25 a.m. CST
-Look Damn Your eyes! -Too Late...
Nov. 6, 2007, 10:11 a.m. CST
Thanks for not ripping me too much of a new a-hole for my review. I hope that the show is now better than what I saw... though my biggest issue was the tone of it, which might not change with time. Good call on casting Chenoweth instead of Mullaly. I didn't think casting Mullaly was just a stunt... she's just REALLY annoying in it. I'm curious to see what the reviews are like. Most audiences will go nuts over it (though hardcore fans of the original movie probably won't be so enamored) I'm not opposed to stage versions of movies - it worked great with the Producers, not so well with The Graduate - I just was really disappointed with this one.
Nov. 17, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST
I just saw this on broadway...Had tickets in the Mezzanine-center, aisle seats. Purchased the tickets directly from the box office. $61.50 a piece. Show was brilliantly sung, staged, acted and paced. I laughed until I cried and enjoyed it more than The Producers which I thought was wonderful also. This might just be a tweaked version from what you saw in Seattle because the NY crowd gave 2 standing ovations. One after the Puttin' On the Ritz number and then the end. When this show finally enters it's official opening, it'll be one impossible ticket to obtain.
June 30, 2008, 3:59 p.m. CST
I took my 21yr old son and his wife to see this on Broadway 6/28/08 and all three of us loved it. My son is in the military and doesn't get excited about the Theatre but is a Mel Brooks Fan. I thought this would be a good start for his first Broadway Show and it was dead on. The audience was really into the show and the running gags just kept getting bigger laughs each time. The cast got a standing ovation. We paid $122 for Orchestra Level seats on the aisle on Saturday night and got them day of show at the box office. The show Sold Out. We all had a great time and it was money well spent!