Frightful Fun for Young Frankenstein
If you are interested in having a frightfully fun experience, come out to see Young Frankenstein at the Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, a community art center in Budd Lake, NJ. With direction and musical direction by Richard Boyer and choreography by Beth Napoli Budd, this production is sure to please.
For baby boomers who grew up fans of Mel Brooks’ classic comedy film of the same title, this musical comedy brings back the ghoulish and over-the-top characters we cherish from our youth including the brilliant Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Richard Boyer), the self-loving Elizabeth Benning (Diana Minervini), Frankenstein’s ghastly yet lovable hunchback servant Igor (Josh Boyer), his bubbly and sweet young assistant (Alison Bancroft), his zany housekeeper Frau Blücher (Mary Fitzpatrick), and his mad creation, The Monster (Roger Nick). Rounding out the cast includes Inspector Kemp/The Hermit (Paul Rivellese), Mr. Hilltop (Craig Brown) and Dr. Victor von Frankenstein (Daniel Sun).
Young Frankenstein tells the story of Dr. Frankenstein, who leaves his New York medical practice and his fiancé, Elizabeth, in order to settle his grandfather’s estate in Transylvania. There, he meets his eagerly awaiting servant, Igor; hires Inga, his not-too-clever assistant; and is greeted by Frau Blücher, whose very name when spoken aloud brings on the call of wild horses!
At first reluctant to join the family business which involves various attempts to bring a corpse to life, Dr. Frankenstein has a change of heart and decides to conduct an experiment in order to try it himself. He directs Igor to bring him a specific brain from an intelligent corpse. Unbeknownst to Frankenstein, however, Igor inadvertently brings him back an abnormal brain.
The experiment is a disastrous success — a corpse is brought back to life — but the specimen is that of a bulky, yet apparently well-endowed, green-faced, and spiky black-haired Monster! True to Mel Brooks’ vision, antics ensue as the Monster gets loose and finds a love-interest for himself.
Audience members will delight in many of this show’s musical numbers, for instance, when the Monster accompanies Frederick, Inga, Igor, and the ensemble to Irving Berlin’s classic tune, “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Other crowd pleasers include Inga, Frederick, and Igor’s “Roll in the Hay,” Frau Blücher’s ghoulish “He Vas My Boyfriend,” and Elizabeth’s “Please Don’t Touch Me,” to name a few.
For those not familiar with the Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, the venue is a majestic gem which peeks out from the western shore of Budd Lake. Its serene grounds are adorned with statues and beautiful evening views of the lake. Co-founders Stanley Barber and Bob Findlay, both teachers at the time, created the theatre because they realized that theatre was great for kids, so it would be a fantastic idea to have a theatre in the community.
Through the years, community members have had a wonderful opportunity to not only participate in the plays and musicals the theatre has produced, but also to come out and enjoy them. Barber proudly boasts that the theatre is now in its 46th year! He has a special fondness for the venue, as he can often be found seating and welcoming audience members, introducing productions, and saying good-bye to audience members at the end of each show. All-in-all, it is a warm community theatre experience which is not to be missed.
Upcoming performances of Young Frankenstein are Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th at 8:00 P.M at the Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, 23 Lake Shore Road, Budd Lake, NJ. Future productions at Pax Amicus include the Tony Award winning play, God of Carnage, which runs October 7th, 8th, 14th, and 15th and The Life, Loves and Tales of Terror of Edgar Allan Poe, which plays on October 28th. For more information call (973)691–2100 or visit www.paxamicus.com.
Photo credits: TJ Reissner