Clockwise from top left are Spectrum musical theatre performers Leif Buchanan, Owen Grigolato, Abby Bidwell, Daniel Zelisko and Taylor Muir, who star in Spectrum Community School’s musical theatre program staging of Young Frankenstein the Broadway musical. The show runs March 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m. and March 10 at 2 p.m., all in the Spectrum school theatre. (Submitted)

Spectrum to stage Young Frankenstein musical

Mel Brooks’ musical brings classic gags, laughs to Saanich school’s stage

The Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein is coming to the stage at Spectrum Community School.

A student musical theatre production, Young Frankenstein is the Broadway musical version adapted by Mel Brooks from his own original screenplay of the 1974 film.

The show runs March 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and March 10 at 2 p.m., all in the Spectrum school theatre.

It’s the latest Spectrum musical theatre production, having recently staged Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels, Evita and Mary Poppins.

There are 51 students in the cast with another 15 students in the pit orchestra, 13 on the crew and over 40 stagecraft students who have built and painted the sets, collected props, set up lighting, edited sound effects, created tickets and more, said director Tim Barss, Spectrum musical theatre teacher.

“We have had so much fun with this production,” Barss said. “Our rehearsals have been filled with laughter and the cast has truly embraced the Mel Brooks brand of comedy in their performances.”​

Through some research Barss uncovered the story of how Brooks was convinced to create Young Frankenstein. Having chosen the popular play for his students, Barss did some research and found that comedic actor Gene Wilder actually suggested the idea of a Frankenstein movie to Brooks over coffee on the set of Blazing Saddles.

“Not another!” Brooks said, referring to the many versions of Frankenstein that had been released in the 1950s and ‘60s. But Wilder pressed on with the idea that the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein wanted nothing to do with the family.

“That’s funny,” Brooks said.

Brooks and Wilder co-wrote the screenplay with Wilder starring as Dr. Fronkensteen (an alternate pronunciation from the traditional Frankenstein). The movie spoofs the horror film genre with plenty of gags and one-liners, much of which will be in the musical. To his credit, Brooks then wrote the musical score for Young Frankenstein in his early 80s (he’s now 92), a tribute to “life learning.”

Directed by Barss, the show is choreographed by teacher Lia Shannon with musical direction by Parker Jolliffe.

Tickets are available through the school office, 250-479-8271.

reporter@saanichnews.com

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