Friday, February 5, 2010

A Monster Everyone Loved!

Note: If you haven't entered my One World, One Heart drawing, it's down a couple of posts here! And, there's a look at Jacqueline Winspear's newest Maisie Dobbs book on Chopsticks and String!

Not everyone likes Mel Brooks, but he's one of my favorites. So many of his movies just make me laugh -- they're the kind of thing you want to watch if you're really depressed, because they are so silly, how can you stay gloomy?

Some of my favorite memories involve Mel Brooks movies -- I remember watching "The Producers" with my cousins on my aunt's TV at the lake and later, going with the same cousins to see "Blazing Saddles" at the tiny movie theatre in Gaylord.

"Young Frankenstein" was a favorite, too. Gene Wilder, who seems to be in Brooks' repertory company co-wrote the script and starred.

Brooks directed and the film pulled in over-the-top performances from Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeleine Kahn, Kenneth Mars and Teri Garr -- most of whom had been in one or more other Brooks films.

So, when the musical came to East Lansing, I had to go see it!

Now this can be dangerous business. If you read Chopsticks and String, you may remember my "White Christmas" experience, in which the musical violated my sense of the deeply loved movie. (Which didn't mean it wasn't good -- it just took plot liberties that bothered me.)

So, I was a tad nervous, despite good reports from others who'd seen the production.

(Side note -- remember when they used to make movies from Broadway musicals instead of Broadway musicals from movies? "Sound of Music," "My Fair Lady," "King and I," "Oklahoma!," "Oliver." Now you can go to Broadway and see things like "The Producers," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "Mary Poppins" and "Legally Blonde." Just interesting...)

Anyway, Gypsy gave Rick and I tickets for "Young Frankenstein" -- and mighty good seats, too.

Walk in and you see this drop, setting the stage for something spooky.

Here's a closer view -- take a good look.

And this was the opening of the movie!

So far, authentic!

And then, POW! Lights flash! (Note to anyone with epilepsy or seizure disorder -- serious use of strobes and flashing lights.) The play begins!

The company we saw had three leads from the Broadway cast (which closed early, due in part to the recession and declining Broadway attendance a year or two ago). Roger Bart, who played Frankenstein, was also in the play and movie of "The Producers."

The fellow who played Igor (pronounced Eye-Gore) was terrific, too. He was also in the original cast.

Well, as the play unfolded, both Rick and I were delighted. "This is the most fun I've had in the theatre since I can't remember when," he said. I agreed. The lighting, technical elements of the production were perfect, and if I had to quibble (and I suspect this was the sound system), sometimes the lyrics in the chorus numbers were a little difficult to pick up -- but it was easy enough to follow anyway.

And if you like tap dancing, homage to Fred Astaire, and great style, the "Puttin' on the Ritz" number puts the movie to shame! For that matter, so does "Roll in the Hay" (below), just a quick scene in the film, and several other moments, too.

The next night, Rick and I watched the movie (which Gypsy kindly gave to Rick with his ticket). And it was good.

Was it as good as I remembered it? Did I laugh as hard? Did I enjoy it as much as the play?



femminismo said...

This is one of the movies the Mister and I put on when we can't sleep or need a laugh. I will bet the play was good, too. I haven't seen a production here in Oregon, but if it comes our way I will try and see it. Everything about the play looks vivid and I started singing "Roll, roll, roll in the hay" after seeing the one pic. Thanks for posting this.

Ruth said...

This is one of our favorite movies, and we are constantly quoting from it - like "nice knockers" - "sank you doctor." :D Or "where wolf, there wolf." "Why are you talking like that? You started it." You are so right about movies being made from musicals first, and now the opposite, how strange!

It's cool that you liked the play more, because we love the movie so much.

anno said...

What fun! YF has got to be one of my favorite movies, but the play sounds wonderful -- sounds like you enjoyed a lovely evening!

Mae Travels said...

That sounds like fun. We once met a Russian named Igor who said he had been in the US for months before he learned why kids who were introduced to him always said "Walk this way."

BONNIE K said...

I'm glad you posted the pictures - this was the same cast we saw in Cleveland. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I think this one has come and gone in STL but will catch it next time...sounds great.

PS Gypsy is so generous! Gotta love him!

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

live theater is such a thrill, what a great gift Gypsy gave you two ;)

great wrap up to Ms Jeanie!
oxo said...

My high school buddies and I quoted that movie to each other and giggled our little heads off. I still remember it with a smile! I'd love to see the play too. Cool, that you could take some photos! I tried to snap a couple at Wicked and got in trouble.

Relyn said...

I LOVE Maisie Dobbs. Gotta go. Time to visit Chopsticks and String.

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