Indiana State University Newsroom



‘Young Frankenstein’ comes alive June 16

June 9, 2017

Mel Brooks' hilarious 1974 comedy "Young Frankenstein" will come alive on stage June 16 through silly songs and unforgettable characters as the opening production of Crossroads Repertory Theatre. 

In this musical parody of a classic horror story, the audience is transported to a small village in Transylvania, where Fredrick von Frankenstein struggles to overcome his family's sinister legacy.

The original movie, also written by Brooks, takes place in the 1930s during the vaudeville era. To turn the movie into a Broadway musical, Brooks used vaudevillian acting, which calls for actors to face the audience while combining pantomime, dialogue, singing and dancing on stage.

"This production demands a lot of vaudeville routines and connections," director Bill Kincaid said. "Instead of making the moment more real and not worrying about the audience, this show calls for the exact opposite."

Kincaid, who is a theater professor at Western Illinois University, has been working with the Crossroads cast to familiarize them with the vaudevillian style.

"There are a lot of scenic challenges that we have now found our way past," Kincaid said. "This play was written to have gigantic sets and lots of costumes, and our theater doesn't have all that space. I believe limitations lead to creativity."

Kincaid praised his production team for bringing "Young Frankenstein" to life.

"Jeannie Galioto is our costume designer and has a done an excellent job with the costumes and giving the cast a 1930s style. Jen Rock, head of lighting, has helped me pinpoint some great spots on stage to make scenes better. Kevin Nelson, our scenic designer, has been terrific. He has helped with the limitations of having a small stage for a big stage play easier. They have all helped make these problems disappear with their insight and great ideas," Kincaid said.

The play takes the audience along the experience of a scientist finding himself - along with some childish humor, suggestive jokes, bad puns and a musical twist.

"The audience can expect a very affectionate mockery of the original ‘Frankenstein' story," Kincaid said. "For audience members who have seen the original, a lot of the iconic moments are still in the script. The audience can revisit an old friend from the movie but get introduced to a new friend through the music and this particular performance."

This production has an interesting tie to the Crossroads Repertory Theatre's theme - the tricks the mind plays.

"The mind plays tricks about placing monsters into our minds," Kincaid said. "It's our human obsession or fear of a preoccupation with monsters and the idea that there is something out there."

Kincaid has mapped out a vision for the production, and the cast has helped shape this vision.

"I want the audience to get the vaudevillian style of the play," Kincaid said. "Even if they don't know the term, I want the audience to understand and recognize that style. My actors have done a great job embracing this humor and know where to go with it. I want the cast to come with a vision and try new things. If it works, we keep it. And if not, I step in and give my idea."

Nearing the opening night performance, Kincaid has found some areas he is very pleased with, but there is still time for improvement.

"I'm really happy with the way we decided to start the play," Kincaid said. "What the audience sees when they first walk into the theater, and how it relates to the opening scene, combined with the preshow speech, is a very exciting and unexpected opening."

Kincaid says children are OK to attend this production, because most of the humor will go over their heads. Kincaid invites all to join him in the audience, where he enjoys watching and observing the plays he directs from the center section.

"In certain moments, I want to know if the crowd gets it," Kincaid said. "If there are two things happening on stage I want to know if the audience is watching the right character when a plot is happening and not looking the wrong way. When those things happen, it has to be fixed."

"Young Frankenstein" opens Crossroads Rep's 2017 season and runs 7:30 p.m. June 16 and 17, July 7, 12 and 15 and 4 p.m. June 18, July 9 and 12 in Indiana State's New Theater, 540 N. 7th St. Season tickets are available for $52 each, and single-production tickets are $15-20 for general admission.

For more information about this summer's season or to buy tickets, go to crossroadsrep.com or call the box office, which opens June 15, at 812-237-3333.

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Photos: https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/ISUphotoservices/Photo-Services-People-and-Grou/CRT-2017/i-shfpS4q/0/90e59753/X5/May%2023%2C%202017%20CRT%205300-X5.jpg -- "Young Frankenstein" opens Crossroads Rep's 2017 season and runs 7:30 p.m. June 16 and 17, July 7, 12 and 15 and 4 p.m. June 18, July 9 and 12 in Indiana State's New Theater, 540 N. 7th St.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/ISUphotoservices/Photo-Services-People-and-Grou/CRT-2017/i-DD4F4TZ/0/510d74bf/X2/May%2023%2C%202017%20CRT%205439-X2.jpg -- "Young Frankenstein" opens Crossroads Rep's 2017 season and runs 7:30 p.m. June 16 and 17, July 7, 12 and 15 and 4 p.m. June 18, July 9 and 12 in Indiana State's New Theater, 540 N. 7th St.

Writer and media contact: Antonio Turner, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, aturner41@sycamores.indstate.edu or 812-237-3773