Thursday, October 17, 2013

Young Frankenstein's Musical Challenge

Young Frankenstein will be accompanied by a live band conducted by HSU Music professor Paul Cummings. He notes that the challenges are a little different than in recent musicals at HSU.

 “This musical has apparently not been done very much since its Broadway run, so we don’t have a lot to go on,” Cummings said, after the first band rehearsal. “There is the Broadway cast recording, but it’s with a full orchestra, and we’re doing a band version.”

 The band that will play in Gist Hall Theatre consists of piano, drums, a violin and bass, and wind instruments for a total of 10. “One challenge will be to not overpower the singers, since wind instruments are so much louder than strings.”

 Cummings describes the music as “upbeat and lively, with some lyrical passages. There’s some 1920s, 1930s style, a little ragtime and early jazz feel.”

 Mel Brooks’ music for The Producers included parodies and sly references of songs and arrangements from well-known musicals, and Cummings agrees there’s some of that in Young Frankenstein. “It’s got a lot of familiar musical mannerisms, which seem intentional. It’s definitely a retro style.”

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