Fun with 'Young Frankenstein'

Musical twist on a classic story gives audiences what it wants and some ad lib.

September 09, 2010|By Candice Baker
  • Roger Bart as Dr. Frankenstein and Cory English as Igor in "Young Frankenstein."
Roger Bart as Dr. Frankenstein and Cory English as Igor… (Paul Kolnik, Daily…)

For Cory English, life's a roll in ze hay.

English has taken his portrayal of Igor of "Young Frankenstein" musical fame from Broadway to the road — and he and the rest of the cast are set to make their debut at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Sunday.

English had been living in London for several years, where he found himself performing as Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks' other blockbuster musical, "The Producers." After performing for a couple of years in London and then taking the show throughout the U.K., English received a call from Broadway, where he was asked to take on the role of Igor in "Young Frankenstein." When the show closed, the tour opened five months later; English and his family jumped at the opportunity to travel around the country.

"It's funny going around the country and seeing which people laugh at what stuff," English said. "In Atlanta, it was like a rock concert. In Kansas City, people certainly enjoyed it but they weren't as raucous or as loud. They were a little more reserved. We still got a standing ovation, but I think some of the innuendoes were lost. In L.A. they got every film reference."


The musical went on temporary hiatus last month, and is re-opening Sunday with many new cast members.

"I've just extended my contract because I'm having such a good time," English said. "What's nice about Igor compared to Max Bialystock is that as Max, I had to drive the show. I was onstage all the time, and there's a lot of responsibility. With this one, I don't have to drive it. I just have to come out, limp a little bit, have a Cockney accent and do some funny voices. It's a great part."

Ironically, English said, Igor often has to be the straight man onstage. In the musical, the grandson of famed mad scientist Dr. Victor von Frankenstein — a respectable American anatomist who pronounces his name differently ("that's Frohnk-in-steen") in order to distance himself from his predecessor — inherits the family castle and travels to Transylvania Heights.

There, he meets henchman Igor's grandson (who decides to pronounce his name "Eye-gore") and a host of other characters, along with rekindling the family occupation — much to the villagers' dismay.

Marty Feldman played Igor in the original 1974 film, and is a cult cinema figure.

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