When Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, brought her monster to life over 200 years ago, she could not have foreseen that one day a creature inspired by her writing would be singing and dancing to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” But that is exactly what will be happening on Ramapo’s stage when the acclaimed theater club, Gold Masque, presents its treatment of Broadway’s 2007 Young Frankenstein. The hit musical comedy is based on Mel Brooks’ 1974 side splitting cult comedy film of the same name and is a parody of the horror film genre. The plot of the production is an outrageous reconceptualization of the Frankenstein legend.
The story follows a young Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced Fronk-en-steen), who upon learning of the death of his mad scientist grandfather, Victor von Frankenstein, travels to his family’s ancestral castle in Transylvania. Victor, of course, was infamous for creating a hideous monster. After years of trying to distance himself from his family’s scandalous history, Frederick finds himself in Frankenstein Castle where he discovers his grandfather’s secrets for reanimating a dead body. With the help of his quirky, creepy and kooky companions, Frederick comes to realize that bringing the dead back to life is not only part of his family legacy, but it is his duty as a Frankenstein. Inspired by his dead grandfather, the young scientist creates a monster of his own, to the consternation and horror of the Transylvanian villagers. The monster subsequently escapes the castle and madcap adventures ensue including singing and dancing.
Senior, and relative newcomer to Gold Masque, Cristian Puhlovsky takes on the role of Frederick Frankenstein, while junior, Michael Dekens plays the role of his sidekick, Igor. When asked about his method for embodying the lead character, Cristian posited, “Frederick is very intelligent, quirky and overly dramatic.” Cristian believes that his character’s personality is really showcased in the scenes where he interacts with the character of Igor. He explained, “Frederick’s goofy laboratory assistant conjures Frederick’s funniest moments in the show.” He added that one of his favorite scenes is the dance sequence to “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. “The choreography is complex, but the cast does an excellent job of making sure it looks great. Also, who doesn’t love a big tap number in a musical?” That’s for sure!
The show also features the considerable talents of many of Ramapo’s most gifted thespians. Matthew Murphy brilliantly steps into the big shoes of the unconventional Monster; Olivia Kozlevcar beguiles as Frederick’s fiancé Elizabeth; CJ Stahl does double duty expertly as both Inspector Kemp and Dr. Victor von Frankenstein; Olivia Fornasieri sizzles as Inga; Jamie Manley’s Hermit is hysterical and Taline Banks’ portrayal of Frau Blucher is the glue that holds it all together.
Rounding out the cast is an outstanding ensemble. The supporting actors include Megan Allen, Nick Pazos, Henry Martin, Maddie Frick, Danielle Miller, Amy Salvesen, Izzy Williams, Julia Abata, Kailey Crotty, Mikayala Feehen, Gabriella Goldberg, Hannah Peters, Gianna Trivisani, Emily Alexandrou, Kara Chin, Madison Elliott, Paige Harrington, Campbell Moses, Angie Novak, and Holly Schulman. The cast members sing and dance their way through Frederick’s adventures in Transylvania.
A production of this caliber would not be possible without a versatile and skilled stage crew. Jessica Valente leads the effort as the Stage Manager with Mikaela Phillips as her assistant. Allie D’Andrea provides Assistance to the Directors while David Kosiborod serves as the Projection Specialist. Kate Maimone and Jessica Laino spearhead the Green Room.
Other crew members involved in the herculean task of bringing this production to the stage are Jack Bellanton, Stephanie Kologrivov, Lila Bennet Jones, Caitlin Berenson, Caroline Cox, Sami Gootman, Noor Jepsen, Spencer Lander, Joelle Minicucci, Angie Petrucelli, Kyanna Malke, and Lindsay Arone. This behind-the-scenes troupe keeps the show running smoothly and seamlessly enabling the actors to take the audience along on Frankenstein’s hilarious and wacky journey.
Ramapo’s theatrical presentation of this 45-year-old old classic comedy has something for everyone. It is filled with humor, farce, absurdity, fun, intrigue, romance, dancing, singing, slapstick, monsters, and mad science. Young Frankenstein reminds us that great comedy not only endures, but it transcends generations. Mary Shelley would most certainly approve of the new life Gold Masque has breathed into the creature she inspired, and perhaps, if she were an audience member she might even giggle a bit!
Young Frankenstein will be presented at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2; Friday, May 3; and Saturday, May 4. Tickets are $15.00 at the door for adults and $10.00 for students and senior citizens. Make plans to attend. It would be a monstrous mistake to miss this devilish delight.
Featured Photo: Cast and Crew of Gold Masque 2018-2019 (Photo Courtesy of Jamie Manley)
By: Sarah Charages, Staff Writer