Young Frankenstein: In Grayscale, On Stage

Bringing the Monster to Life...
Bringing the Monster to Life…

The North Fork Community Theater is embarking on a bold new theatrical experiment this month, producing “Young Frankenstein (The Musical)” in black-and-white.

Now, the real world is in color, so this theatrical experiment has proved an eye-opening adventure for director Bob Kaplan and his crackerjack production staff.

“We’re all excited and challenged by the idea,” he said of the show, which opens Oct. 12. “For the sets, it means figuring out which gray to paint stuff, and how to work it out so it had the feel of a black-and-white movie. The same thing for the costumes. They’re not all solid tones. They’re designed to work in grayscale.”

Mr. Kaplan said the makeup crew, lead by Sonomi Obinata, is currently perfecting the task of making peoples’ skin tones appear as they do in a black-and-white movie by removing their pinkish tinge.

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This production stars veteran NFCT actor Mike Hipp as Frederick Frankenstein, Nancy DiGirolamo as Elizabeth Benning, Jenna Wolf as Inga, Laura Pearsall as Frau Blücher, Matt Orr as Igor and James Carey as The Monster.

It is based on the Broadway musical, with script and lyrics by Mel Brooks, which was based on his classic 1974 film starring Gene Wilder.

“The play is crazy, hilarious and wacky,” said Mr. Kaplan. “I have an incredible cast.”

“Everybody knows one or more scenes or lines from the movie, and the play is 60 to 75 percent word for word from the movie,” he added. “But knowing the words was a challenge for me, and for the actors, to say the famous lines and not imitate the movie. People expect the lines when they’re coming, but we have to make them personal to us and still make them funny. That was our challenge.”

The cast includes Mike Hipp as Frederick Frankenstein, Nancy DiGirolamo as Elizabeth Benning, Jenna Wolf as Inga, Laura Pearsall as Frau Blücher, Matt Orr as Igor, James Carey as The Monster, Alan Stewart as Inspector Hans Kemp, Lon Shomer as Victor Frankenstein, Bob Kaplan as Harold the Hermit and Peter Peterson as Ziggy.
The production team includes Producer Babette Cornine, Music Director Leslie McBride, Choreographer Jan McGoey, Costume Designer Deanna Andes, Makeup Designer Sonomi Obinata and Stage Manager Jim Pearsall.

“Young Frankenstein” runs Oct. 12 through 29 at the North Fork Community Theatre, 12700 Old Sound Avenue in Mattituck. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25, online at or at 631.298.6328.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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