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Peoria's ABT kicks off summer season with Mel Brooks’ ‘Young Frankenstein’

Kurtis W. Overby takes the role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” at the Arizona Broadway Theatre May 23–June 22.
Kurtis W. Overby takes the role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” at the Arizona Broadway Theatre May 23–June 22.Arizona Broadway Theatre

Want to go “Puttin’ on the Ritz” or dance to “The Transylvania Mania”? The professional Valley premiere of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” may be just the ticket. The musical comes to the stage of the Arizona Broadway Theatre in Peoria, Ariz., May 23–June 22.

With music and lyrics by Tony Award winner Brooks and book by Brooks and Tony Award winner Thomas Meehan, the musical is based on Brooks’ hit 1974 film of the same name starring Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein.

Brooks’ reimagining of the original classic, a novel by Mary Shelley entitled “Frankenstein,” takes place in Transylvania in 1934, when Dr. Frankenstein makes a bold decision to attempt the completion of his grandfather’s work. He succeeds in bringing a corpse to life, but only with an accompanying multitude of scary, but often also hilarious, complications.

Directing and choreographing “Young Frankenstein” is Tralen Doler, who has directed “Crazy for You” and “La Cage aux Folles,” among other ABT productions. “‘Young Frankenstein,’ in my humble opinion, is Brooks’ greatest achievement,” said Doler. “Brooks applied a scientific study of comedy to give us everything we could ask for in one package: familiar characters and a story turned upside down with perfectly crafted jokes that just keep coming.”

Scenic designer Jack Magaw, who previously worked on “Trailer Park” and “Buddy Holly” at ABT, brings his stunning visuals of the Transylvania laboratory and “Young Frankenstein” scenery.

Playing Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is Kurtis W. Overby, who serves as associate artistic director at ABT.

Igor, the doctor’s hunchbacked helper, is played by Brad York, whose previous ABT appearances include “Into the Woods,” and “The Full Monty.”

Taking the part of Elizabeth Benning, Dr. Frankenstein’s fiancée, is Cassandra Norville Klaphake, ABT's co-founder and artistic producer. She has also appeared in “Sunset Boulevard” and “Into The Woods” at ABT.

Adam Vargas, formerly in “Grease” and “Trailer Park,” plays the Monster, Dr. Frankenstein’s misunderstood creation, and Becca Gottlieb, previously in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “A Chorus Line,” plays Inga, Dr. Frankenstein’s curvaceous lab assistant.

Additional cast members include Kathi Osborne as Frau Blucher, Brad Rupp as Inspector Kemp, Sam Ramirez as the hermit, and DJ Petrosino as Ziggy. Ramirez and Petrosino are also in the ensemble, in addition to the following: Quinten Patrick Busey, Greg Kalafatas, Colin Shea Denniston, Diego Diaz, Adam Shaff, Laurie Trygg, Lynzee Jaye Paul 4Man, Rachel Perin, Alissa Tucker, and Katie Larson.

Arizona Broadway Theatre is located at 7701 W. Paradise Lane in Peoria, Ariz. Purchase tickets online or by calling the ABT box office at (623) 776-8400.