College's 'Young Frankenstein' coaxes multiple talents from cast

SUNY Oswego’s adaptation of the classic musical spoof “Young Frankenstein” brings new faces to the stage and highlights the comedic talent of the student cast, starting with a preview at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

Frankenstein's monsterThe college music and theatre departments will present the musical comedy at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 25; Saturday, April 26; and Saturday, May 3. The show will close with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, May 4.

Freshman theatre major Nicole Marlowe makes her college debut as Igor, the scene-stealing hunchback assistant of Dr. Frankenstein. Her acting career started at age 7 and hasn’t stopped since.

Playing perhaps one of the most memorable roles of the production, Marlowe said her acting skills have grown throughout rehearsals, bringing her clueless but hilarious character to life.

Playing a traditionally male role was a challenge for the actor, and Marlowe said she hopes the audience can accept the change and embrace the unusual. “We didn’t want it to be like any other performance of ‘Young Frankenstein,’” she said. “I just hope I can do Igor justice since it’s such a well-known role.”

Perhaps one of the biggest shows Oswego has tackled, the crew makes this version of “Young Frankenstein”—inspired by the 1974 movie and 2007 play—its own. Todd Graber, chair of the music department, is musical director. Donald Garverick, a veteran of several New York theatre productions, will choreograph and stage-direct the musical.


Juggling, too

As Igor, Marlowe wears a green sweater with black pants, a black hood and exchanges two pairs of boots, one with taps on them for the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” She performs two main songs, “Together Again” and “Transylvania Mania.”

“‘Together Again’ is one of my favorites because it is just Igor and Frederick, and it’s a very ‘bromance-y’ song, which is very fun,” she says. “‘Transylvania Mania’ is a more difficult number, where Igor tries to convince the town to join in on dancing, and players run around stage like mad men.”

SUNY Oswego’s production rolls out Mel Brooks’ classic musical, featuring the grandson of the original Dr. Frankenstein and his “monster,” in a never-before-seen way. Players need to know a variety of dance routines and unique skills to delight the audience, such as balancing items on their heads while singing in harmony, juggling while singing as a barbershop quartet and other innovations that should make the play an event to remember.

Props and set pieces consume most of the production set—so much so that the crew has a map backstage. The stage is different from the original set and includes props such as a lab table that flies by in the middle of a number.

Marlowe and fellow cast members rehearse every weeknight from 6 till 10:30 p.m. Working long hours has been less of a challenge and more of a team effort as the group brings out the best in one another, she said.

“It is by far one of my favorite casts that I have ever worked with,” Marlowe said. “Everyone has grown so much. This show is very difficult, musically, physically and tech-wise.”

The crew had to add additional tap rehearsals for “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” because among the17 cast members, only three or four had previously practiced tap dancing. “It is great watching how everyone’s physicalities have grown more and more into their characters,” Marlowe said.

Cast members include Danny Stalter as Dr. Frankenstein, Jared Gould (the Monster), Morgan Rae Noone (Inga), Ashley Domenech (Elizabeth Bennin), Miranda Coll (Frau Bluecher), Dan Frohm (Inspector Hans Kemp), Mike Cothren (The Hermit), Jesse Lessner (Dr. Victor von Frankenstein) and Josh Jarvi (Ziggy).

Music ensembles include Sam Berman, Evan Debevec-McKenney, Spencer Ventresca, Tara Fox, Jackie Shikora, Taylor McCown and Anna Richardson. Student crew members include assistant stage manager Emma Johnson, wardrobe chief Amber Kent, assistant director Nick Goodman, sound designer Rachael Kepler and house manager Rebecca McCarthy.

Tickets for “Young Frankenstein” are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu and by calling 315-312-2141. Tickets are $15 ($7 for college students), including parking, with a special price of $10 for tickets purchased online to the Saturday performances, April 26 and May 3.

PHOTO CAPTION: On the loose—SUNY Oswego students flee in terror as Frankenstein’s monster (junior Jared Gould) lurks near Sheldon Hall in a promotion for “Young Frankenstein,” a musical-comedy spoof presented by the college’s theatre and music departments at Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. The preview is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, and the show runs at 7:30 p.m. April 25-26 and May 3, with the finale at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4.

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(Posted: Apr 18, 2014)

Tags: young frankenstein, theatre, suny oswego, nicole marlowe, igor