Young Frankenstein

Original touring cast of "Young Frankenstein" (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

I crossed paths with a young Valley actor last night as he and his dad were among those attending opening night for “Young Frankenstein” at ASU Gammage in Tempe.

He was the youngest person I saw in the audience, and noted that the show was really best for the 10 or 11 & older set. It’s got some colorful language and plenty of sexual inuendo –but none of it rises to the level of being raunchy, and it’s all in good fun.

Rye Mullis as that fabulousy funny tap dancing monster (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

Jake Garvey, age 11, of Scottsdale says he’s been enjoying shows at ASU Gammage for a good five years or so. His favorites include “Annie,” “Mary Poppins,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and — after Tuesday evening — “Young Frankenstein.”

In a word, the show is refreshing. It’s got a lovely simplicity that serves up just the right touch of humor. Garvey praises the show for having “a lot of energy and great actors who make the characters very believable.”

We agree that actor Cory English, who plays the role of Igor (which he formerly played in the Broadway production) pretty much steals the show. But the small cast is well balanced — with everyone bringing a stellar performance.

The show does drag a bit (and very briefly) in just a few places, and a couple of scene changes were less smooth than they could have been.

But the work is plenty polished and entertaining, and English’s work is one of the best comedic performances I’ve seen in a theater production.

Roger Bart as Dr. Frankenstein embracing his Transylvanian roots (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

I never turned to glance at another audience member without finding aisles of smiles and laughter. Nor have I ever heard such a thunderous round of applause — with standing ovation — during all my years as an ASU Gammage season ticket holder.

“Young Frankenstein” is the perfect choice for seasoned theater goers craving more modern material — but also for young adults enjoying their first taste of live theater.

Thanks to a storyline that’s easy to follow, and fun tricks with strobe lights and sound effects, it’s a great way to transition those pre-teens or teens from screen time to stage time.

The alternative, quite frankly, is scary.


Note: Keep your eye on the ASU Gammage website to learn about their 2nd season of Gammage Goers, members of the community who attend select ASU Gammage shows so they can share feedback with fellow theater lovers.

Coming up: Preview of the Scottsdale Film Festival