Hot on the heels of the mega-successful musical adaptation of The Producers comes Mel Brooks latest production; a stage version of his classic comedy-horror film Young Frankenstein. Our Head of Theatre & Events, David Thomas met up with the legendary film-maker recently and can’t wait for this exciting new show!
There are legends and then there is Mel Brooks. This pint-sized colossus bestrides the three worlds of cinema, musical theatre and TV like none before him (his awards include one Oscar, three Tonys and three Grammys). His unforgettable comedy-western, Blazing Saddles, blazed a new trail in cinema, and the equally outrageous The Producers reinvented the Broadway musical. Now Brooks is reuniting with the director/choreographer of the musical adaptation of The Producers, five-time-Tony-Award-winner Susan Stroman, for the hilarious musical comedy Young Frankenstein which is coming to London this autumn. The 1974 movie on which the film was based starred Gene Wilder (who co-wrote the screenplay with Brooks) and our brilliant home-grown comic genius, Marty Feldman.
Brooks relates the origin of the movie in an interview from 2010:
‘I was in the middle of shooting Blazing Saddles, Gene Wilder and I were having a cup of coffee and he said “I have this idea that there could be another Frankenstein” I said, “Not another! We’ve had the son of, the cousin of, the brother-in-law. We don’t need another Frankenstein” His idea was very simple: what if the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein wanted nothing to do with the family whatsoever? He was ashamed of those wackos. I said, “That’s funny”‘
For the story of the musical adaptation Brooks partnered up once again with three-times Tony Award Winner, Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, and Hairspray).
Speaking about the challenge of writing the libretto, Meehan said:
‘The Producers has a plot: Find the worst show in the world and produce it. This doesn’t have a plot; it has a story. It’s a Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland kind of story: he goes to Transylvania and meets all these people — Igor, Inga, Frau Blucher; it’s a kind of odyssey…
…We meet the doctor, he finds out his grandfather has died, he has to settle the estate, and he has no interest in getting involved in science. That’s similar to the movie — he denies his family. The evolution of the character starts at that point. In the movie he says, “I am a Frankenstein” about halfway through, and I felt very strongly that that had to be at the end: He can’t accept his family and his destiny and everything in his DNA until the very end.’
We met up with Mel when he came to London to receive a BAFTA fellowship award and spent a hilarious hour over test-tubes of foaming chemistry-set cocktails. You too can enjoy an intoxicating cocktail of Mel Brooks mayhem and magic at The Garrick theatre from September!
Are you as excited about Young Frankenstein coming to London as we are? Let us know in the comments section below…