3B’s “Young Frankenstein” laughs off Halloween spooks

Young Frankenstein cast members pose in a local cemetery.

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

 

Get a jump on Halloween with shrieks of laughter rather than shrieks of fear.

The folks at 3B Productions will present the musical stage version of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” this weekend with shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2:30 at the Maumee Indoor Theater, 601 Conant St., Maumee.

Joe Barton, the show’s director and a founder of the troupe, said the inspiration to stage this Mel Brooks classic came from last fall’s Halloween-themed show, “The Addams Family.”

Seeing Randy “Beef” Baughman as Lurch, he and others thought he’d make a great Frankenstein’s monster. Perfect casting, aside from the challenge of finding a tux that fits him.

In “Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks imagined Frederick Frankenstein following in his grandfather Victor’s footsteps and creating a monster of his own. Brooks, as was his wont, turned the horror of the original and its multiple retellings, on its head and into a relentless comedy.

“There’s not sad moment in the show,” Barton said. “Even the love songs are comedic.”

Baughman’s son, Will, was cast as Frederick. They’ve shared the stage before, most recently in a very different seasonal musical. In spring Will Baughman played Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar” while Randy Baughman played the high-strutting high priest Caiaphas .

“Young Frankenstein,” Barton said, gives the younger Baughman a chance to play a lighter, comic role.

“It’s fun to watch them work together,” the director said of the father-son duo.

With Janine Baughman, Randy’s wife and Will’s mother, as musical director the show as much a family affair for the Baughman’s as it is for the Frankenstein’s.

Brooks did a seamless translation of his hit movie to the stage, adding a few musical numbers.

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Usually when doing a show that has a movie version, Barton advises against watching the film. Actors can pick up the tics of the screen performers. But in this case he told them to go ahead because he wanted to capture the anarchic energy of the original.

Brooks wrote all the songs, music and lyrics, except for Irving Berlin’s “Putting’ on the Ritz,” which is used in the show’s tap dance scene.

That move from screen to stage requires some stage magic to pull off effects like the operating table that lifts into the air while Frederick and Inga, played by Kristin Kekic, make love on it.

The cast is thoroughly enjoying the rehearsal process, Barton said. No drudgery about long rehearsals. “Everyone’s really into it. They’re having so much fun.”

That includes Lydia Schafer as Frau Blucher. She came in character from the start, Barton said. She’s reprising the role from a Toledo Rep production.

“The cast definitely has a good time,” Barton said. “That’s what I like best about it.”

The cast also includes: Patrick Toth as Igor; Matt Badyna as Victor Frankenstein; David D. Smith as Inspector Kemp; and Mara Connor as Elizabeth.

Tickets are $17 for preferred seating, $15 for general seating, and $13 general seating for seniors and students. The cost for the wine and cheese buffet before each show is $5. For details visit: http://3bproductions.org/fall-show.html.

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