Just in time for the Halloween season, Theatre UCF comes alive with The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, running Oct. 20-30 on the UCF Main Stage.
Based on the 1974 film of the same name featuring the late Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein tells the story of Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the infamous monster-creator Victor Frankenstein, who travels to Transylvania upon inheriting his family estate.
“It’s a raucous good time in rehearsals,” says director Christopher Niess. “The type of humor in the show has a very specific timing and physicality to it. That’s why this production is a great learning experience for the students involved; they’re learning how to really make these jokes land. The whole show is just a big box of fun.”
But it’s not just student actors who are hard at work on this production. In Theatre UCF’s makeup studio, advanced makeup students are hard at work creating the face of Frankenstein’s newest monster. Perfecting professional techniques like creating prosthetics will prepare these students for jobs in the entertainment industry, especially in the theme parks.
Joey Herr, a sophomore BFA musical theatre major, plays the role of The Monster. In order to create the prosthetics that will transform into his character, Herr sat for three hours while two students and a faculty member completely covered the actor’s head in liquid silicone.
“I had no idea what to expect going into it. Overall it was an interesting experience but in the moment it was extremely claustrophobic,” he said. “Once I get to wear the prosthetics, I think it will help me get into character. I’ll feel more like a monster with a full-face mask. I’m so excited to get this production started!”
With the recent passing of Gene Wilder, who played Frederick in the original film, this production has become even more meaningful to those involved. The stage version of the musical stays true to the movie, says Niess.
“It certainly makes working on the production poignant. Many people don’t realize that along with starring in the film, Gene Wilder was co-author of the stage adaptation. You can really see his comedy come through in the writing, and it’s a nice reminder of the immense talent that he was.”
Tickets for Young Frankenstein are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased at www.theatre.ucf.edu or by calling or visiting the box office Monday-Friday, noon-5 .p.m. at 407-823-1500. This production contains some content that may not be suitable for young audience members, including some curse words and moderate sexual innuendo.
For more information about Theatre UCF and the UCF School of Performing Arts, visit https://performingarts.cah.ucf.edu.
Production at a glance
The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks
Directed by Christopher Niess
Oct. 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23, 30 at 2 p.m.
Postshow reception Oct. 20