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Theater

'Young Frankenstein' opens Theatre Factory's season

| Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, 12:03 a.m.
The cast of “Young Frankenstein” rehearses for the 
season-opening production at The Theatre Factory.
The cast of “Young Frankenstein” rehearses for the season-opening production at The Theatre Factory.

The Theatre Factory in Trafford brings Mel Brooks’ hilarious classic “Young Frankenstein” to the stage to open its 2018-19 season.

The adaptation of the 1974 film comedy into a musical was written by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, with music and lyrics by Brooks.

The show’s director, Scott Calhoon of Pittsburgh, said the stage version’s story that parodies the horror film genre is similar to the movie, except that the ending and certain details are changed to make it more adaptable to the stage.

“But all the favorite moments from the movie are still here,” he says. “Some have been expanded or turned into songs, but they are still here and will make you laugh.”

Calhoon said he was anxious to be involved in the season opener.

Director and set designer

“I knew it would be a huge challenge to pull off this show in our theater, and I am always up for a challenge,” he says. “The story is corny enough, and there is plenty of wonderful music to make for a really enjoyable evening. And, to design the sets — the real challenge — really appealed to me. I used to design haunted houses and loved doing it, so I really wanted to try to mesh that into our stage production.”

Because of the requirements to do the show, Calhoon says he imagines it won’t be done everywhere, “so this is a good chance to see a fun production fully produced in our area. Our leads include Jason Swauger (of Emsworth) who has toured nationally, and Matthew Hommel (of Monroeville), a recent Best Actor Nominee with the Gene Kelly Awards.”

“Young Frankenstein” focuses on the grandson of Victor von Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein (Swauger), who inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania and insists that his name is pronounced “Fronkensteen.” Hommel plays Frederick’s hunchbacked sidekick, Igor.

Portraying his fiancée, Elizabeth, is Erin Stetor Seaberg of White Oak; Layne Bailey of Wexford plays Inga, Frederick’s lab assistant and eventual love interest. The cast also features Matthew Mlynarski of Lower Burrell as the Monster, Jonathan Heinbaugh, Dave Minda and Sam Minnick. Marty Savolskis is choreographer; Beth Minda is music director.

Scary mayhem ensues when Frederick discovers the secret entrance to his grandfather’s laboratory.

New season, new artistic director

Following Mlynarski’s portrayal as the Monster in “Young Frankenstein,” he will assume his new role as Theatre Factory’s artistic director. He has a BA in theatre performance from Seton Hill University, where his studies focused on acting and directing.

Mlynarski outlined the rest of Theatre Factory’s season, which he calls “a wonderful mix of old and new,” as follows:

• Oct. 12-22, “The Mousetrap,” a great murder mystery from the mistress of suspense herself, Agatha Christie, in one of the only stage shows for which she wrote the script.

• Dec. 7-16, “Nuncrackers,” a holiday show for the whole family, featuring “those wonderful Sisters from Hoboken, N.J.”

• Feb. 22-March 3, “Fuddy Meers,” a comedy not often seen in our area.

• May 3-12, “Kalamazoo,” a romantic comedy about two widowed 70-somethings, venturing into the new world of modern dating.

• July 12-21, “Heathers,” a musical based on the movie from the late ’80s.

Shows for kids

Theatre Factory’s Kidworks shows will include “Mostly Ghostly” Oct. 27- Nov. 4, “The Snow Queen and the Goblin” Jan. 19-27, “Dorothy Meets Alice” June 8-16, and “Miss Nelson is Missing” Aug. 10-18.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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