Art Here and Now
Daring creativity happening now around the world
The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein

The Producers and Hairspray both began as movies, became musicals, and then turned into movie musicals. I have little doubt the new musical Young Frankenstein will follow the same footsteps.

It’s still in previews and has its flaws, but mostly it’s a lot of fun. From some really funny moments to a giant Frankenstein lab with lightning, Romanian and swing dancing, and Megan Mullally, Roger Bart, Christopher Fitzgerald, Sutton Foster and Andrea Martin, it’s a good time. Unfortunately my dormant memories of Haunted Honeymoon and Transylvania 6-5000 kept popping up. Thankfully few people have seen these movies.

Regional theatres all over the US have had financial difficulties for over a decade. One of the problems is getting audiences interested in new work which wasn’t written by someone they already know, and doesn’t star someone they’ve already seen (preferably a star). The musical blockbusters on Broadway, based on films, with big name stars, is a way to attract enough audiences to pay for such big productions. But is this theatre a living artform if it continually recycles ideas? Certainly every idea is a combination of new and old, but when the producers only want to risk already proven plots and characters, less new work gets a chance on stage. Instead you get Carrie the Musical and Clueless.

All that said, I’m so happy I got to see Andrea Martin as Frau Blucher. (Even I fell for the well loved stars and characters.)

Related: Why are there so many Broadway musicals based on movies?

Get Young Frankenstein, The Producers, stuff with Megan Mullally, stuff with Andrea Martin, Haunted Honeymoon, Transylvania 6-5000, or the book Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops

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posted by Trout Monfalco