On the evening of Saturday, May 3, I attended the musical-comedy Young Frankenstein at SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre in Tyler Hall. The production follows Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (played by Danny Stalter), grandson of the original Dr. Victor Frankenstein, as he applies his medical research to an experiment designed to reanimate the dead. Frederick ultimately succeeds by transplanting an “abnormal” brain into a seven-foot tall corpse, thus granting the gift of life to an initially terrifying monster. In order to win the hearts of the Transylvanians, The Monster (played by Jared Gould) must endure a hilarious “humanization process” involving a tap dance set to the musical number “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
Although all actors were perfectly cast for their respective roles, Nicole Marlowe delivered an absolutely flawless performance as Igor, the hunchback assistant of Frederick. Her powerful voice and silly antics effectively captured the audience’s attention and had them practically begging for more. By the end of the night, everyone seemed to be rooting for the deformed yet lovable sidekick who nearly stole the show with her whimsical humor and unrivaled talent. As expected, Marlowe received a well-deserved round of applause when she took her curtain call.
Other actresses who stood out amongst the rest of the cast were Ashley Domenech, who played Frankenstein’s narcissistic fiancée Elizabeth, and Morgan Rae Noone, who played Frankenstein’s voluptuous love interest Inga. Elizabeth’s arrogant and superficial nature was perfectly portrayed by Domenech; the audience could not help but dislike the annoying socialite, who ultimately becomes smitten with The Monster. Her opening song “Don’t Touch Me,” with its countless sexual innuendos, had the crowd roaring with laughter. Noone’s Romanian accent, as well as her bold singing/yodeling, was impeccable. Her character’s adoration for the nerdy scientist was plain for all to see, making the chemistry between the two lovers extremely believable.
The ensemble was definitely one of the most noteworthy parts of the entire production. Each cast member contributed to the play in a meaningful way, delivering excellent vocal performances and dance routines. Perhaps their strongest musical number as a whole, was “Join the Family Business” in Act I. This song contained a number of modern references, which made the audience join in the fun by clapping their hands and stomping their feet along to the beat.
Not only were the musical numbers catchy and entertaining, but the set design was strikingly beautiful, as well. Important props included a chariot with “horses,” a revolving bookcase, a medical bed for The Monster, and a portrait of the infamous Victor Frankenstein. The colorful, lavish costumes worn by the majority of cast members were stunning to behold, as was the predominantly gothic set. The sound/visual effects of thunder and lightning were distinct and perfectly timed; the use of strobe lights made the show come to life that much more.
Thanks to brilliant acting, a well-designed set and amusing dance moves (especially the tap dance performed simultaneously by Frederick and The Monster), Young Frankenstein was truly a success. SUNY Oswego students did a magnificent job of bringing the characters of the beloved musical-comedy to life, earning a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the night. Overall, the play was humorous yet endearing—especially given its happy ending when everyone seems to fall in love—and an absolute pleasure to watch. Clearly, this masterful parody of the classic Frankenstein horror films was definitely worth seeing. It is no wonder that it has been called “monstrously good entertainment!”