Thursday, 15 November 2018

Don’t miss Cedar Street Theatre’s monstrously funny ‘Young Frankenstein’

Don’t miss Cedar Street Theatre’s monstrously funny ‘Young Frankenstein’
26 Oct

Just in time for Halloween, Cedar Street Theatre brings the Mel Brooks’ musical “Young Frankenstein” to the stage.

The production begins a two-weekend run at 8 p.m., Oct. 26, at the Nellie and Lou Bozigian Family Theatre at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center.

The musical is based on Brooks’ classic 1974 film of the same name. In fact, Brooks wrote the music and lyrics for the show and he co-wrote the book with Thomas Meehan.

Fans of the film won’t be disappointed, director Therese Melnykov said.

“Audiences will find that it is very, very similar to the movie,” she said. “There are large chunks of the script that are directly out of the film.”

The cast features actor Aaron Foley as Frederick Frankenstein, who inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania. With the assistance of Igor (Connor Kane) his hunchback sidekick and Inga (Katelyn Herbert), Frederick finds himself in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestors.

“It’s very easily translatable — if you’re a fan of the film, you will be a fan of the show,” Melnykov said.

“Young Frankenstein” will be her first musical to direct and her second show, overall, in the Antelope Valley. She also directed Cedar Street Theatre’s award-winning production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” earlier this year.

“It’s been daunting and challenging, there’s just so many more moving parts,” Melnykov said.

She is a theater veteran who moved to the Antelope Valley two years ago, from St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband.

The cast spent the first six weeks of rehearsal focusing on the music and choreography.

Community theater veteran David Alan Smith plays Inspector Kemp and Ziggy, a hermit. These days, Smith is more likely to direct a show or do scene work than he is to act.

“It kind of takes a special project to get me to come back out and be on stage and this was it,” he said, adding Melnykov as director was also a draw.

Inspector Kemp is also a fun role. He has a wooden leg and arm. He is missing an eye and wears a monocle over his eye patch. He also speaks with a funny accent.

“I think audiences will laugh themselves silly and somewhere in the middle of all the laughter, I think they will realize how incredible this ensemble is,” Smith said. “They are some of the best singers, dancers, actors I’ve ever worked with and they just rule the show.”

Herbert said her character, Inga, is a challenging role because it required her to yodel.

“It is a very unique talent that I had to learn,” she said. “So I specifically learned yodeling for this show. I’ve never tapped before so I had to learn how to tap. There was a lot of things that I had to learn for this role that I’ve never had to do before and this is only my second lead.”

Herbert did her research. She grew up listening to folk music artists such as Jewel, who is famous for yodeling.

“I would sing that for karaoke and come to find out, oh, that’s how you yodel,” Herbert said.

She also learned the difference between a country yodel and a folk yodel.

As far as the show, Herbert said “Young Frankenstein’s” cast is the best she’s ever worked with.

“I think I’ve been doing shows for three of four years now and this is the best ensemble and best staff I’ve worked with,” she said. “Everybody is very professional. They’re all skilled dancers and singers. A lot of people are one or the other, this cast is both.”

Kane is a fan of the original movie and Mel Brooks’ films, in general. He also wanted to try a musical, which he has never done before.

“I  auditioned for Frederick because you always audition for the biggest role that you can,” he said.

He got Igor.

“I actually think it’s good that I got Igor because that role more suits me and what I can do. He’s kind of weird, kind of all over the place and goofy. He breaks the fourth role a lot and it’s just a really fun role,” Kane said.

“Young Frankenstein is not only Kane’s first musical, it’s also his first comedy.

“It’s been different and it’s been challenging,” he said, adding it has been a growing experience for him.

Foley first saw “Young Frankenstein” the movie when he was a child.

“My parents probably shouldn’t have been watching that, but I did and actually started out hating  it with a passion,” he said.

The movie scared him and gave him nightmares for years.

“I never understood the jokes because I was so little,” Foley said.

He saw the musical when it was at the Pantages Theater. When he learned Melnykov was going to direct it for Cedar Street Theatre, he wanted to be  part of it.

“Igor is my favorite character, so I’m jealous as heck that Connor gets to be him because that’s what I really loved … It kind of just worked out this way,” Foley said.

The cast, he added, works well together.

“I’ve been in many ensemble casts but this one, just for some reason, we’re able to really pick up quickly and really harmonize well and the voices sync well together. Everyone’s willing and follows directions really well,” Foley said.

“Young Frankenstein” plays at 8 p.m., Oct. 26 and 27 and Nov. 2 and 3; and 2 p.m., Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 3-4. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $20 for seniors 62 and older and youth 18 and younger; and $19.80 for military.



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