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Theatre Information

Milburn Stone Theatre Young Frankenstein

By • Feb 24th, 2014 • Category: Maryland, Reviews
Young Frankenstein
Milburn Stone Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Milburn Stone Theatre, North East, MD
Through March 2nd
2:50 with intermission
$18/$15 Students, Seniors
Reviewed February 21st, 2014

Once a theatre has established a strong reputation, it can be difficult to live up to that expectation with every production. However, once in a while, a practically perfect production comes along that not only meets that expectation, it raises the bar yet again for all future productions. Milburn Stone Theatre has created just that kind of powerhouse in their current production of Young Frankenstein. Every single principal performer is strong, professionally polished, and holds his/her own. The direction is seamless, the choreography is stellar, and the sets and lighting are beautifully designed. If you do not already have tickets for next weekend, I would highly suggest making that happen as soon as possible.

Upon the death of Victor von Frankenstein, his grandson Frederick (Adam J. Wahlberg) is summoned to his home in Transylvania as his sole heir. Frederick knows that the expectation is to a build a monster in the grand family tradition, but he tries to struggle against it. Since it is Mel Brook’s comedy, many hilarious hijinks and silly satire surround Frederick as he joins the family business. This production is true to the goofiness and camp without ever over-reaching,

Much of that rests of the shoulders of Wahlberg, and that is a good place to rest a show. Wahlberg has a natural, boyish charm that keeps his character grounded and real even as he as has the audience rolling with his zany facial expressions and reactions. He has tight comedic timing and soaring tenor vocals. Things only get better once he teams up with Igor (Charles Johnson). Johnson’s timing and delivery is flawless. His Igor is hilarious, loveable, and impossible to take your eyes away from.

Also aiding Frederick is his lab assistant, Inga (Shereen Ahmed). Ahmed has a powerful and melodic belt that nails every pitch. She is able to be goofy and funny while still being sexy and somehow sincere. She is also a dynamic triple threat and shines in dance numbers. Yet another polished performance comes from Nance Webber as Frau Blucher. Her “He Vas My Boyfriend” had everyone rolling in the aisles and was a powerhouse vocal. Her performance was nuanced, skilled and delightful to watch.

As Elizabeth Benning, Kati Donovan held her own with this powerful cast. She occasionally went just a little too big, but, overall, she nailed the comedy just right. Her awesome vocals and expressive facial expressions really sold her several musical numbers. As The Monster, Ryan Wagner showcased his tap-dancing prowess and a strong ability to evince emotion and life with very few words. Standing out in a smaller role and really making the most of his moment was John Mulvey as the Hermit. It was an incredibly delightful display of comedic ability and made for one of the most entertaining scenes of the play.

Even with these fantastic acting performances, at the end of the day, the show was truly stolen by the choreography. It was creative, impressive, and executed with precision by a strong dancing cast. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” was the highlight of the show with an incredible tap sequence that was strengthened by the accompanying light and special effects design.

There were a few minor bugs to work out with the sound balance. Especially in the beginning of the show, the vocals were occasionally lost under the music. Occasionally, a costume was slightly out of period or unflattering to the performer. A few ensemble members were not quite up to the caliber of the majority of the ensemble.

However, these few nit-picky details aside, it was a delight to watch. This many professional-level performances together is not something that you get to see every day. Combining that with such amazing dance and lighting resulted in a spectacularly enjoyable production. It is, however, important to note that the show is practically one big sexual innuendo. While Director Rory Donovan was obviously careful not to allow that to be too gratuitous or go past what was necessary for the script, there is still a lot of sexually-driven humor and this would not be appropriate for children and may not be appropriate for teenagers.

Cast

  • Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Adam J. Wahlberg
  • The Monster: Ryan Wagner
  • Igor: Charles Johnson
  • Inga: Shereen Ahmed
  • Elizabeth Benning: Kati Donovan
  • Frau Blucher: Nance Webber
  • Inspector Kemp/Hermit: John Mulvey
  • Victor von Frankenstein: Gannon Webb
  • Ziggy: Christopher Woerner
  • Herald: Frank Gilette
  • Ensemble: Theresa Bounds, Suzette Burgess, Daniel Combs, Joanna DiPaola, Phil Hansel, Vincent Kalwa, Amy Luchey, Zachery Mease, Michael Maistros, Cindy Mulvey, Adam Nelson, Katie Obarski, Eileen Law Stewart, Megan Valle, Jamie Verderamo, Erik Williams

Production Team

  • Direction: Rory Donovan
  • Musical Direction: Shane Jensen
  • Choreography: Jackie Kappus
  • Stage Management: Katie Donovan
  • Properties Design: Eyvo Johnson
  • Sound Design: Terry Edwards
  • Lighting Design: William A. Price III
  • Scenic Design: Bob Denton
  • Costume Design: Joyce Williams & Brenda Kinzinger
  • Scenic Crew: Shereen Ahmed, Mike Berquist, Brandie Biddy, Tyler Bristow, Bob Denton, Rory Donovan, Frank Gillette, Brandon Gorin, Phil Hansel, Charles Johnson, Jackie Kappus, Serenity Rowland, Dan Tucker, Rebecca Volk, Raymond Von Wahide, Adam Wahlberg, Chris Woerner, Ryan Wagner, Erik Williams, Stanton Zacker
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Raymond Von Wahide
  • Backstage Crew: Diane Berquist, Bob Denton, Codey Odachowski
  • Light Board Operator: Tyler Bristow
  • Sound Engineer: Terry Edwards
  • Sound Operator: Rory Donovan
  • Fly Chief: Brandon Gorin
  • Spot Operators: Christy Wyatt, Missy Wyatt

Disclaimer: Milburn Stone Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

This article can be linked to as: http://showbizradio.com/go/9962.

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