1. Stage

Musical version of 'Young Frankenstein' opens Sept. 10 at Richey Suncoast Theatre

NEW PORT RICHEY — Fans of Mel Brooks (The Producers, Blazing Saddles) will get a chance to see the musical version of what Brooks himself described as his best film, Young Frankenstein, at Richey Suncoast Theatre. It opens Sept. 10 and continues weekends through Sept. 27.

The show is based on Brooks' 1974 film spoof of the 1931 movie version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff. It has the same characters and general story as Brooks' film, with some surprising plot differences and the addition of Broadway-style musical numbers.

And — good news for the audience — the Richey Suncoast version stars several of the award-winning actors who played in the theater's blockbuster musical two seasons ago, Spamalot, and last season's big award-winner, Bye Bye Birdie.

The musical opens in 1934, as the residents of Transylvania Heights celebrate the death of the mad scientist Dr.Victor von Frankenstein (Jeffrey D'Augustino, Mayor in Bye Bye Birdie), creator of the terrible monster that rampaged through their village creating mayhem.

But, wait. There's a grandson, Frederick Frankenstein, Dean of Anatomy at New York's Johns, Miriam and Anthony Hopkins School of Medicine. Frederick (Brian Moran, Charlie Award as Not Dead Fred in Spamalot), lectures about The Brain, but he isn't proud of his name and insists it be pronounced "Fronkensteen."

Even so, he must go settle his grandfather's estate, leaving behind his touch-me-not fiancee, Elizabeth Banning (Cherie in Bus Stop at Stage West Community Playhouse). In Transylvania, Frederick meets the hunchback Igor (Patrick Moran, Charlie Awards as Robin in Spamalot and Albert in Bye Bye Birdie), the grandson of the the late doctor's henchman.

Igor has hired the voluptuous Inga (Brittany Gonzalez) to be Frederick's assistant, and she invites him for a Roll in the Hay on the way to the castle. Once there, they meet the strangely mysterious Frau Blucher (Patty Gonzalez), who was usually devoted to the late Dr. Frankenstein (He Vas My Boyfriend). Soon, Frederick is convinced to continue his grandfather's work — and that's when all the trouble begins.

Will the new Monster (Ike Henthorn) be as brilliant as Frederick hopes, or will he wreak havoc as his predecessor did? Will the wacky Inspector Kemp (Mitchell Gonzalez, Charlie Award as Conrad Birdie in Birdie) lead the townspeople to an uprising against Frederick and his creation? How much can go wrong when the Monster is welcomed into the home of the blind hermit Harold (Patrick Gonzalez, Charlie as Lancelot in Spamalot)? And what will happen when Elizabeth shows up at the Transylvania castle and finds her fiance Frederick and Inga in flagrant delicto?

Those who have seen the Brooks movie may think they know the answers, but Brooks has changed the plot twists just enough to provide a whole new direction. And the addition of music and dance changes the feel of the show, but not so much as to lessen the fun.

The director is Jillian Buyea, who also directed last season's State Fair. The choreographer is Jade Banks, who also did Bye Bye Birdie. The music director is Michele Rose.

There's also a chorus/ensemble of 16 singers and dancers.