Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Musical I Actually Liked

Even after all of my years in theater, I've never considered myself much of a fan of musicals. Some old standards are hard not to love, like Guys and Dolls or The Music Man or My Fair Lady, just to name a few. Though I'm sure it's only because I saw them as a kid, and that's what has really made them endearing to me.

For the most part, to me, musicals just don't fulfill my entertainment needs.

But still, from time-to-time, I'll make it out to see a musical. Usually it's part of the "you're-married-so-you-often-do-stuff-you-really-don't-want-to-do" contract.

That was the case with Wicked, which I did like, but...that's a lot of time, money, and patience to use up in one evening. Glad I went. I guess. No desire to see it again.

This past week I had the pleasure of seeing a performance of Young Frankenstein, the Musical. There's a short run in Seattle as Mel Brooks, Susan Stroman and others fine-tune it for the Broadway premier.

Sure, they're still working on it. It's a little bit too long, a couple of gags were killed by mistakes on and off stage and I'm sure they'll cut a few musical numbers.

But it was good. Really good. I'm a huge, ridiculous fan of the movie and the over-the-top audacity of it translates really well to stage.

Megan Mullaly killed as Elizabeth, the Madeline Kahn role in the movie. They - of course - expanded the role a bit, and with her voice and comedic talent, they needed to.

Sutton Foster is really impressive as Inga, the Teri Garr role. Sexy, funny, and a serious Broadway voice. Did I mention that she has legs that go all the way to Vancouver? I reminded myself who she was with On Demand episodes of Flight of the Conchords. Coco. Brit's girlfriend. They sing a filthy song to her. Great episode.

Andrea Martin is perfect as Frau Blucher, in an expanded role compared to the movie. Cloris Leachman really set the bar in the movie, and I was happily surprised that Ms. Martin pulled it off.

The rest of the cast is more than adequate, though I would have loved to have seen just a bit more insanity from Roger Bart, who plays Dr. Frankenstein. Probably not fair though to be compared to Gene Wilder in what may be his best role. Mr. Bart is best-known for his creepy pharmacist role in Desperate Housewives.

The sets were impressive, the music matched the style and the venue is beautiful.

If you get a chance to see it before it bolts for the great white way, do it.

A funny side note: a friend of mine is the GM of a nice restaurant here in Seattle. They hosted the opening night party for the cast and crew - and Mel showed up, had a quick drink, looked around, saw all of the regular customers, looked at my friend and exclaimed, "Civilians!", waved and walked out the door. I don't blame him. 81 years old and famous - why would he want to be in a room crowded with strangers?


Pete Best said...

Funny Mel story. So, you left out the Eyegor and Monster actors. How were they?

Crustodio said...

Igor and the Monster did quite well, along with the actor that played both the inspector and the blind man. The entry was just getting too damn long.

Joe Janes said...

Glad to hear you liked it. This was one of those "I don't know about this" things rolling around in my head ever since I heard about it. "The Producers" was a natural for Broadway. I worried that this one was Mel going to the well one too many times. He should stop after this. Unless he wants to do "Blazing Saddles" as an outdoor drama. I'd go see that!