The Ritz Theatre in Haddon Township has a hit with Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein.” Originally a movie, then set to music for Broadway, the play is a comedy about the grandson of Frankenstein who wants nothing to do with the family business.
Then he goes to Transylvania to settle his grandfather’s estate. Once there, he gets seduced (in more ways than one) into taking on the family business.
A prodigious amount of local talent makes this a great show; all facets of a good musical, acting, singing and dancing are there in spades. Two of the female leads, Elizabeth Benning, played by Jennie Knackstedt, and Inga, played by Megan Pisors, have particularly gorgeous voices; the rest of the cast is great, too.
Ernie Jewell played Young Frankenstein. His acting and dancing are superb, and his lower-register singing was so good, he was able to capture and contain the entire audiences attention.
The showstopper for this writer was the tap dance performed by the cast to Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Who knew great tap dancing, not the most poplar form of dancing these days, was so alive and well and so readily available for a local theater! Angela Wertner’s choreography was mah-valous, simply mah-valous, darling.
Mention must be made of Doug Atkins playing Igor, and Jodi Lawrence O’Connor playing Frau Blucher; they were simply hilarious, and the perfect foils for Frankenstein, Inga, and Elizabeth. Ms. O’Connor’s rendition of “He Was My Boyfriend” had even the more staid members of the audience laughing out loud.
What a great show. If you like schmaltzy, slapstick humor, catchy Broadway tunes, and some great dancing, all performed by an able and adept cast, see this show. As one audience member was heard to say, “These actors are as good as ones I’ve seen on Broadway.” High praise indeed. If the shoe fits….
The show continues through August 2. www.ritztheatreco.org/