It doesn't matter if you pronounce it FRONK-en-stEEN or FRANK-en-stEIN, you can't deny that Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" is a comedy classic.
Filled with colorful characters and famously quotable lines, the 1974 film has such lasting fame that it spawned a Broadway musical adaptation - written by Brooks - in 2007. Though the piece didn't make much of an impact in New York, lasting just more than a year, it was a hit with audiences and a national tour was launched in 2009.
The second national tour of "Young Frankenstein" will make its way to Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium for a show at 7:30 p.m. April 11 and expectations are high that it will be just as much of a crowd pleaser here as it was on Broadway.
A.J. Holmes (left) plays Dr. Frederick von Frankenstein, and Rory Donovan plays Monster in “Young Frankenstein.”
"I'm expecting it to be a lot of fun," said Laura Sullivan, the director of marketing for the Center for Performing Arts. "We're expecting a big audience. Ticket sales have been very brisk, especially the last three weeks."
"Some people bought tickets almost a year ago, because they bought them last year when our season was announced."
"Young Frankenstein" tells the story of Frederick von Frankenstein, the grandson of infamous monster-maker Dr. Frankenstein. Frederick, a doctor and medical professor, is ashamed of his family's past and insists that his name is pronounced "Fronkensteen." When he inherits his grandfather's Transylvanian castle, Frederick must travel to his ancestral home to take care of the property.
If you go
What: "Young Frankenstein"
When: 7:30 p.m. April 11
Where: Eisenhower Auditorium, Penn State University Park campus
Tickets: $53 and $59 for adults, $38 and $44 for University Park students and $48 and $54 for those ages 18 and under. Buy online at www.cpa.psu.edu, by
calling 863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX or in person at the Eisenhower box office, Penn State Downtown Theatre Center, the HUB-Robeson Center information desk and Bryce Jordan Center
With the help of the castle's servants - the zany hunchback Igor ("Eye-gore"), the beautiful, yodeling Inga and the mysterious and creepy Frau Blucher (whose mere name sends horses neighing) - Frederick finds his grandfather's work and makes it his own. The increasingly obsessive doctor succeeds in creating his own Monster. In the final act, Frederick reveals his creation to the world, with disastrous results.
Along for the ride for much of the production is Elizabeth Benning, Frederick's beautiful, but frigid, fiancee. After following her man to Transylvania, Elizabeth is kidnapped and raped by the rampaging Monster - but discovers that the wild man awakens in her a passion that has been missing from her life.
The role has a prestigious history, played by Madeline Kahn in the 1974 film and originated by "Will and Grace" star Megan Mullaly on Broadway. On this tour, however, it's played by 24-year-old actress Lexie Dorsett on her first national tour.
Dorsett admitted in a phone interview with the Mirror that the role's pedigree made her nervous, but her fears were alleviated in early rehearsals.
"What's interesting is that my director was fantastic and said, 'You aren't Madeline Kahn and you aren't Megan Mullaly. We don't want you to do an impression. ... We want you to do Lexie and let the material pay tribute to the role,'" she said from a recent tour stop in Atlanta. "It's been interesting, and I love the role. The role is a blast and I've been able to do what I do best, which is wacky comedy."
But the role also has a dual quality that appeals to her.
"I kind of get to play two different characters during the show, because the Elizabeth Denning at the beginning of the show is very refined and then she's very different once the Monster 'awakens' her [in the second half]," Dorsett said.
The Birmingham, Ala., native said that the musical should be very familiar to those who have seen Brooks' original film.
"The musical is very similar to the movie; We say a lot of the same lines," she said. "And a lot of the famous lines have become songs in the musical. For instance, Inga's 'Roll in the Hay' line, where she rolls around in the hay cart, has become a song called 'Roll in the Hay.'"
The close adherence to the original makes the musical a treat for those who love "Young Frankenstein" the movie, Dorsett said.
"It satisfies the fans and the super-fans," she said. "It's really hilarious, because you can tell that, 'Oh, this is a crowd that loves the movie,' because they'll start laughing before a joke because they know what's coming. That's been a different experience."
Another experience - the Broadway experience - has become a hit with Penn State's Center for the Performing Arts, which has made national tours a must-have ticket in recent years.
"Every year we try to have at least three Broadway shows at a minimum," Sullivan said. "The Broadway shows continue to be our most popular shows."
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.