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Mel Brook’s YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN The Musical

Mel Brook’s YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN The Musical

Book by Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan
Music &Lyrics by Mel Brooks

Circle Theatre

Director-Joel Ferrell*+
Music Director-Cody Dry
Assistant Director-Mannon McCollum
Stage Manager-Elizabeth Ann Stevens*
Assistant Stage Manager-Brianna Ballow
COVID Safety Manager-Jordan La Grenade
Head of Production/ASM-Donald Jordan*
Master Carpenter-Rick Morrison
Scenic Designer-Bob Lavallee
Props Designers-Kaitlin Hatton* & Lauren Garza
Sound Designer-Brian McDonald
Costume Designer-Natalie Rose Mabry
Lighting Designer-Jessica Drayton
Assistant Lighting Designer-Caroline Hodge
Costume Intern/Wardrobe-Grace Harmon
Carpenter-Roger Drummond
Production Assistant-Sarah Adams
Production Assistant-Lainey Brock
Production Assistant-Elena Cruce
Intimacy/Fight Choreographer-Ashley H White+

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein- Parker Gray*
The Monster- Luke Longacre*
Igor- Alejandro Saucedo
Inga- Annie Olive Cahill
Frau Blucher- Sarah Gay*
Elizabeth- Leslie Marie Collins*
Hermit- Mary Gilbreth Grim
Inspector Kemp- Aaron Mateo Arroyo
Swings- Paulette Cocke, Edward Escamilla
* Member AEA | +Member SDC

Reviewed Performance: 6/18/2022

Reviewed by Connie George, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

It is riveting to be back in live theatre and reviewing again. This week I was asked to visit Circle Theatre and review their production of Mel Brook's YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN the musical. I have to admit I have been curious about this musical for years but had only seen clips of it and never the full production. However, I am a fam of the 1974 film written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, which parodied old horror flicks such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its sequels, Bride of Frankenstein, and Son of Frankenstein, which this musical is based on, so I had pretty high expectations, which Circle Theatre and Director Joel Ferrell rose to the occasion to meet. My guest and I spent the entire night belly laughing and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. I do not understand why Broadway gave the 2007 production of this such mixed reviews. In my opinion, it was everything a musical parody should be.

Parker Gray who played Dr. Frankenstein has fantastic comedic timing, great physicality, outstanding vocal range, and those wild luscious locks had me thinking all night of the late great Gene Wilder. They did a wonderful job casting this role. The highlight of the night for me and my guest however was the amazingly talented Mary Gilbreth Grim as Hermit. I was thoroughly impressed the second that Hermit entered the stage. Grim hammed it up and stole the show as she blindly stumbled around and belted out "Please Send Me Someone" and poured hot soup for our poor unfortunate larger-than-life character Monster. Frankenstein's Monster was played by Luke Longacre. His number "Puttin' On the Ritz" along with the rest of the cast was a huge crowd-pleaser. Longacre used physical comedy and great vocal capabilities to make you fall in love with the man he is inside and Monster even manages to find "Deep Love" for himself.

Monster is not the only one finding love though. Doctor Frankenstein finds himself in a bit of a love triangle in the show. The actress who plays the doctor’s lovely fiancée, Elizabeth, Leslie Marie Collins is gorgeous. Her costumes are elegant and her skin was snow white flawlessness. Her songs are some of the best of the production especially, "Please Don't Touch Me". Lust thirsty Frankenstein, who can only dream of touching his fiancée is introduced to his vivaciously busty assistant Inga upon his arrival to Transylvania. I love how this musical stayed so true to the movie in some of my favorite scenes like "Roll in the Hay" with the professors and Inga played by the funny and beautiful Annie Olive Cahill. We were rolling in our seats as the doctor tried to contain himself as the buggy bumped along. Cahill is great at the art of oblivious seduction. Inga is introduced to Frankenstein by Igor, played by Alejandro Saucedo, who was so much fun to watch and plays very well off of his fellow actors. His dance number in "Together Again" with the Dr was really impressive and I also enjoyed hearing his other musical talents later in the laboratory.

In the laboratory, we also learn about the maid Frau Blucher (Neigh) and her relationship with the late Dr. Frankenstein when she sings "He Vas My Boyfriend". Sarah Gray brings the essence of her character to life with her confident stage presence. Another strong actor on the stage was Aaron Mateo Arroyo as Inspector Kemp. Inspector Kemp has many amusing antics. His character is the protagonist with a wooden hand that he convincingly pulls off throughout the entire performance. Arroyo was actually the first actor to really catch my attention when he broke the fourth wall during "The Brain". There were several moments the entire cast broke the wall and engaged the entire audience as cast members themselves. One actor not noted in the playbill was Music director Cody Dry as the live musician who got to be in all of the scenes. Sometimes it was just as entertaining to watch his reactions to what was going on stage as what was being played itself.

Dry's music direction was noted several times throughout the production as I was extremely impressed with all of the actors’ vocal capabilities and blending, but most specifically the angelic harmonies during an acapella piece performed by 4 of the female cast members near the end of the first act. It paired nicely with the fantastic set designed by Bob Lavallee and the Amazing light show designed by Jessica Drayton her diligence in the scenes bringing Monster to life and "Putting on the Ritz" made the scenes that much more magical. Huge kudos to the cast and crew for their almost seamless transitions and to the costume design of Natalie Rose Mabry. Elizabeth's dresses and the costumes from "Putting on the Ritz" were some of my favorites, but the ensemble looks were absolutely thrilling as well.

Young Frankenstein the Musical at Circle Theatre is a performance you won't want to miss. If you're in want of a good laugh and a great performance I suggest you buy your tickets today.

Circle Theatre, 230 West 4th St., Fort Worth, Texas 76102
The play runs through 7/23/22
Thursdays 7:30, Fridays 8:00, Saturdays 3:00 & 8:00
Tickets range from $32-$42
For more information or to buy tickets please visit or call the Box Office at (817)877-3040