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One final weekend remains for 'Young Frankenstein'

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'Young Frankenstein' at the Beck Center

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It lives… but only for one final weekend at the Beck Center for the Arts! The current production of the Mel Brooks musical "Young Frankenstein" is almost at the end of its hilariously monstrous run on the Mackey Main Stage. The shtick-filled romp into Transylvania Heights can be enjoyed now through August 17, 2014.

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The creators of "The Producers" take on the Frankenstein story, and twist it into a goofy good time. The musical is based on the "Young Frankenstein" 1974 comedic film by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder.

When Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced FRAHN-ken-steen) leaves his hands-off fiancé in New York and travels to Transylvania Heights, he finds himself swept into his dearly departed grandfather’s world of monster-making. With the help of the ever-faithful Igor (pronounced "EYE-gore"), the Frankenstein creature is brought to life through a series of surprising antics.

Dr. Frankenstein wants the world to know he is not a madman – he is a rational scientist! He and Igor pair with blond, buxom, yodeling lab assistant Inga and settle into his castle with the scary housekeeper, Frau Blücher (*insert terrified horse whinny here*). But when the spirit of his grandfather tempts him to “Join the Family Business”, Frankenstein decides to continue the legacy. With a fresh corpse and an “Abby Normal” brain, the giant is brought to life and begins to wreak havoc on the town.

Scott Spence (Artistic Director/Director) has done a great job creating a world of melodious Transylvanian chaos on the Lakewood stage. Filled with old-school Mel Brooks jokes, "Young Frankenstein" is a classic journey into how the “Frankenstein” name and The Monster are perceived.

The performances are intentionally campy and well-done within the Mel Brooks framework. Jamie Koeth is a strong Frederick Frankenstein. He captures your attention on the stage and is delightful in numbers like “The Brain”.

Leslie Andrews is bubbly and energetic as Inga. Her effervescence shines through especially in the jaunty “Roll in the Hay” number.

Amiee Collier nails the proper style of the production as Frau Blücher. Her vivid facial expressions and powerful vocals are especially entertaining in "He Vas My Boyfriend".

Mark Heffernan is an enjoyable surprise as the blind hermit named Harold. His simple want to interact with another human being is touching and comical in "Please Send Me Someone" and in his interaction with the Monster.

Christopher Aldrich is endearing as The Monster. Played with the right amount of confusion, bumbling, and anger, he gives The Monster a fearful quality, but also adds a layer that challenges the audience to pull for him in the end. The Monster and Frankenstein’s performance of "Puttin' on the Ritz" is especially funny.

Other actors of note include Alex Smith as the eager Igor, always the instigator to the mayhem, and Lindsey Mitchell as the wishy-washy, high-maintenance Elizabeth.

Larry Goodpaster (Musical Director) and the band hit the right notes with the lively music, and Martín Céspedes (Choreographer) keeps the entire ensemble on their toes with his choreography.

Design team members include Trad A Burns (Lighting Designer), Benjamin Gantose (Associate Lighting Designer), Carlton Guc (Sound Designer), Ian Hinz (Video Designer), P.J. Toomey (Special Effects Designer – The Monster), Cameron Caley Michalak (Scenic Designer), Aimee Kluiber (Costume Designer), with Joseph Carmola (Technical Director) wrangling it all into one cohesive look.

Once again – don’t miss this final opportunity to see corpse-inspired comedy brought to life! Tickets for "Young Frankenstein" can be purchased online at beckcenter.org or by calling Customer Service at 216-521-2540.

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Do you have a Cleveland performing arts story? Contact Kate Miller at katemillerexaminer@yahoo.com.

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