Jenkintown >> The past few seasons Jenkintown High School has asked their audiences to ponder life’s meaning and explore the root of self-fulfillment in musical productions like “Once on this Island,” “Aida” and “Pippin.”
However, on Nov. 13, 14 and 15 the school is simply asking audiences to be enchanted by the work of one of the best film director- screenwriter-comedians around as they present Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein.”
“‘Young Frankenstein’ is sheer delight,” said Alyssa Davidson, the show’s director. “The music is exciting, the tap dancing numbers exhilarating and the dialogue is clearly some of Mel Brooks’ finest work. It was time for the students to delve into material that was just fun.”
Set in the 1900s, “Young Frankenstein” is the story of Frederick Frankenstein, a top New York doctor, who is called to Transylvania to settle his grandfather’s estate. Once there, he meets Igor, a hunch-backed laboratory assistant, who convinces him to remain in town and finish the work his grandfather started — bringing a dead man back to life.
Senior Daniel Spring portrays Frederick whom he describes as a “grumpy sort offella,” who deep down is a nice and lovable guy conflicted over whether he should continue the family business or reject it altogether. Frederick is also “wacky” but still manages to keep his credibility and reputation as a good doctor and doesn’t go “crazy” like other members of his family did, Spring said.
Spring, who is no stranger to the stage, performing in past shows like “Rumors” and “Harvey,” said that portraying Frederick reminded him to accept who he is and where he comes from.
“You can’t change who you are or your family, but you can use that as a strength in your life,” he said. “It makes you enjoy life more if you do.”
A man of science, such as Frederick, wouldn’t be complete without an eccentric accomplice, which is found in his lab assistant Igor, portrayed by junior Ryan Kremp.
Igor welcomes Frederick to Transylvania with open arms and announces off-the-bat that the two will be a “great pair,” Kremp said. Igor is weird and funny, which Kremp found an easy role to step into, because he considers himself a quirky, but humorous person too, he said.
His first big role in a Jenkintown production, Kremp, an avid athlete, said acting in a more prominent role has made him see what he can do as performer and says he might want to continue to explore this avenue post-high school.
A musical just wouldn’t be a musical without romance, and luckily this musical integrates two lovey-dovey story lines. First there’s Inga, Frederick’s flamboyant assistant whom he has an instant chemistry with, who is portrayed by Mimi Wythe. Wythe, a junior, described Inga as “a little stupid, but super sweet.”
There is also Elizabeth Benning, Frederick’s fiancée, portrayed by junior Taylor Stasiak, who described her as “self-centered” and also “cunning.” She falls out of love with Frederick and into love with an unlikely individual.
Many in the cast agree that “Young Frankenstein” is fun for the whole family.
“It is my hope that our audiences will come and spend a wonderful evening [at the theater] here in Jenkintown,” Davidson said. “In today’s society, where we are all moving in so many directions each day, it is comforting to know that there are opportunities where, for two hours, we can be transported to a world filled with laughter, singing and dancing.”
The Jenkintown High School production of “Young Frankenstein” is scheduled to take the stage Nov. 13, 14 and 15 in the high school auditorium, 325 Highland Ave, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for senior citizens and students.