With theatre performances worldwide being cancelled, Alpine Theatre Project decided to radically alter its high school student production of the Mel Brooks musical, “Young Frankenstein,” opting to adapt its slated live production for video.
ATP launches the result of this effort April 26 as a full-length movie musical rehearsed and recorded entirely with its 18 cast members in isolation. The video will be shared via ATP’s YouTube page and social media.
“We had a choice,” says ATP Artistic Director Betsi Morrison. “We could throw up our hands and cancel the show, or we could find a creative solution. We chose the latter.”
The production was originally planned to open April 24, but social distancing regulations made both performance and in-person rehearsal impossible. Morrison decided to use the potentially disastrous situation as an experiment in perseverance and creativity.
ATP and the company’s 18 student actors scrambled to set up a system for remotely rehearsing and recording both the audio and video needed to compile a full-length performance of the hilarious musical. Costumes, props, and green screens were delivered to students’ homes, and rehearsals have been conducted via a combination of phone calls and video conferencing.
“As a mission-based organization, you have a responsibility to the community to continue that mission any way you can,” says Morrison. “We are so proud of these students and their families who have thrown themselves into this project to show everyone that creativity will always help you find a way forward.”
Based on the classic Mel Brooks comedy, “Young Frankenstein” tells the story of the grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronk-en-steen”), who inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania. With the help of a hunchbacked sidekick, Igor (pronounced “Eye-gore”), and a leggy lab assistant, Inga (pronounced normally), Frederick finds himself in the mad-scientist shoes of his famous ancestors.
“It’s alive!” he exclaims as he brings to life a creature to rival his grandfather’s. Eventually, of course, the monster escapes and hilarity abounds.
The ATP Kids theatre education program was started in 2008 to foster confidence, creativity, and collaboration in local students through performance. Over 2,000 students have participated in the program since its founding.
“Young Frankenstein the Musical” will be available online for free on April 26. Information is available on ATP’s website at atpwhitefish.org.