The second production of the Paris Junior College Drama Department’s “Weird Science” season opens Thursday, Dec. 8. “Young Frankenstein the Musical” will be performed at the Plaza Theater in downtown Paris. Unfortunately, a significant HVAC renovation is underway in the Administration Building, putting the Ray E. Karrer Theater off-limits until the spring semester.
“One thing we have to realize when directing a parody of something that is instilled into the psyche of just about every human on the planet is that despite ‘Young Frankenstein’ being a horror parody, it still retains the very spirit of the original classic tale by Mary Shelley,” said PJC Drama Instructor Will Walker, who directs the musical. “This is still about a ‘monster’ in a world full of people who hate him even though he only wants to be loved. So many believe that ‘Young Frankenstein’ works because it understands and respects the source material.”
The story follows the grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronk-en-steen”), who inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania. With the help of a hunchbacked sidekick, Igor (pronounced “Eye-gore”), and a leggy lab assistant, Inga (pronounced usually), Frederick finds himself in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestors. “It’s alive!” he exclaims as he brings to life a creature to rival his grandfather’s. Eventually, of course, the monster escapes, and hilarity continuously abounds. The mature comedy has some adult themes and language.
PJC drama students spoke of the challenges and fun in rehearsing the musical, and all agreed the rehearsals had run long because of so much laughter.
“I’m in the ensemble,” said Jordan White, “so anytime there are big groups on stage, I’m in there. It’s been a while since I’ve been on stage. There’s a lot of choreography and singing. It’s been fun. I love being on stage.”
Stage Manager Sarah Pacifici finds the role very different from acting.
“I definitely have more power, but it’s harder because I have to make sure everyone knows their lines and is doing what they’re supposed to do,” Pacific said. “I like being in charge of things, but I’ll be back to acting in the spring.”
Hanah Huie is also part of the ensemble and plays multiple roles.
“I am not a dancer, and it’s difficult because you have to count and know what you’re singing, but it works all parts of the brain supposedly so that’s good, said Huie.”
“These are some of the most fun rehearsals I’ve been to,” said Ollivia Stiles, who plays a town villager, Telegram Boy, and a member of Elizabeth Benning’s entourage. “There are a lot of jokes some of us are just now getting.”
“Young Frankenstein” performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Dec. 8-10, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. Tickets are sold at the door, cash or check only: $20 general admission; Seniors/Non-PJC Students $10; and those with current PJC ID admitted free.
Olen Cox as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein; Bodee Robinson as The Monster; Caleb Curtis as Igor; Sarah Curtis as Inga; Alaina Downing as Elizabeth Benning; Lisa Martin as Frau Blücher; Nate Sipe as Inspector Hans Kemp; Addison Brown as The Hermit; Carlton Bell as Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein; Kaleb Speakman* as Ziggy (The Village Idiot)-[Dance Captain]; Carlton Bell, Addison Brown, Hannah Huie, Maegan Martinez, Ollivia Stiles, Candace Weist, and Jordan White are the Ensemble (Gravediggers, Villagers, Medical Students, Passengers, Mad Scientists, etc.).
* Kaleb Speakman performs a self-choreographed dance solo during “Join the Family Business.”
Director: William L. Walker; Choreographer: Robyn R. Huizinga; Musical Direction by Alaina Logee Downing; Stage Manager: Sara Pacifici; Assistant Stage Manager: Hannah Huie; Follow Spot Operators: Aria Scroggins and Jessica Sanchez; Costume Coordinators: Celia Stogner & Sarah J’nelle Curtis; Principle Costumes provided by Rose Costumes; Mad Scientist Backstage Crew Members: Aria Scroggins, lead; Jessica Sanchez, and Amanda Blouin.
Special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) presents YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Also supplied by MTI are all authorized performance materials. (www.mtishows.com).