Wyoming — Returning to the set of the musical “Young Frankenstein” was a bit eerie for Director Jeremy Schnotola and students.
A year-and-a-half after its sudden cancellation in March 2020, everything was still where it was left, from props to water bottles. The macabre set, complete with a skeleton, skulls and other items related to monster-creating, remained behind the curtain.
“Kids had a fun discovery time. They were like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s where I Ieft that,’ ” Schnotala said. “Before we shut down, the plan was we would be back tomorrow for rehearsal.”
Now, despite a feeling of déjà vu and of going back in time, Schnotala and students have resurrected the show with five of the original cast members, 2020 and 2021 graduates, returning to perform. The 2007 Broadway musical is a madcap comedy based on the 1974 play directed by Mel Brooks and written by Brooks and Gene Wilder.
The Wyoming Theater Company will present it at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 18-20 at Dan Heintzelman Auditorium, 2125 Wrenwood SW.
Graduates Carlos Caracheo-Trujillo will finally play his role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein; Tiffany Le will play assistant, Inga; Amber Williamson will play the monster; Cierra Cortes will play housekeeper, Frau Blucher; and Britney Lopez-Tzep will play Victor Frankenstein.
“To be able to get them here – to get every one of them – was a blessing for us,” Schnotala said.
Watching them get back into the play has been fun, he said. “They kind of retained it deep in their theater soul. It was still a part of them. Once you play a character for that long, it becomes part of your repertoire of who you are as an actor.”
While the young actors have moved on to college and jobs, they said it’s a great feeling to be able to finally perform their roles.
“For all of us, (the shutdown) was sudden. We were like two weeks away from performing… two weeks turned into a year and a half,” Carlos said.
“This was my first lead role,” said Tiffany. “I remember our last rehearsal clearly because I had just sung my solo number, and it was the best I ever sung it. I was at my peak. I felt very accomplished. I felt so good about myself and so good about the show. We didn’t really expect that to be our last rehearsal, so it just broke all of our hearts a little bit. ”
But deciding to return to high school to finally perform took time. “It took so much effort to move on and accept that it probably wasn’t going to happen, and then to kind of be snapped back into it. All of us were a little apprehensive,” Carlos recalled.
They also wanted to make sure the crop of upcoming student actors got the opportunities they deserve. To make sure current students have opportunities to perform, Schnotola added parts.
“We added more cast members. We had to relearn everything and re-choreograph everything to fit in with new people, order some extra costumes and props,” he said.
Said Carlos, “It’s exciting to have most of the original people come back and pick up right where we left off, but also have other people come along with us.”
Schnotala, who has brought several big Broadway shows to Wyoming over the years, said “Young Frankentstein” has the same robustness that a Broadway show would have. “We have everything you’d see on or off Broadway,” he said.
He’s excited to finally bring it to life.
“It’s fun, high energy, edgy,” he said. “There are a lot of different vocal experiences the kids have to learn, how to use their voices for some serious beautiful songs, some twangy fun songs, some big Broadway belt songs. I like that this show has a lot of variety.”