Young Frankenstein In Theaters

Mel Brooks had success adapting his film Young Frankenstein as a Broadway musical. ABC has had success with The Little Mermaid Live, following networks like NBC and FOX doing live musicals of Hairspray, Grease, Rocky Horror and Rent. Now Brooks is teaming up with ABC to bring the Young Frankenstein musical to ABC.

During her Television Critics Association executive announcements, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said Young Frankenstein would be on ABC in the fall in time for Halloween. During her Q&A she said Brooks had plans to utilize the television format to add to the show.

“We talked to Mel about Young Frankenstein,” Burke said. “What he told us was when he was watching the musical, the Broadway musical, it struck him that it was better served for television. He literally said this belongs on television. That’s why he talked to us. We will be taking elements from the Broadway musical and lessons he learned from doing that and broadening them for TV.”

The 1974 film Young Frankenstein was Brooks’ spoof of the James Whale Frankenstein movies. Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Khan, Cloris Leachman and Teri Garr starred with a cameo by Gene Hackman as the blind man. The film was already a classic when Brooks adapted it for stage, with quotable lines like “Put the candle back” and Frankenstein’s obsession with the pronunciation of his name. 

Brooks‘ musical opened in 2007 on Broadway and toured two years later. It was nominated for three Tonys.

Burke added that the live musical fits in ABC’s increasing emphasis on live programming. They plan to have a live event every month, whether an awards show, the NFL Draft, a live episode of The Conners on February 11 (the night of the New Hampshire Primary), more Live In Front of a Studio Audience events and Nik Wallenda live stunts. 

Burke expects A-list talent to line up for roles in Young Frankenstein. The Little Mermaid Live starred Auli’i Cravalho, Queen Latifah and Shaggy. Stars like Jamie Foxx, Viola Davis, Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei performed Live in Front of a Studio audience for ABC.

“We are huge fans of Mel’s as is everyone across the country,” Burke said. “Expect that big stars will line up to work with Mel as they did with the legendary Norman Lear.”

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