Two producers in Long Beach, Calif. have created new life—a new theatre company, that is. And their first production, appropriately enough, is a classic about creating new life out of something dead, in an adaptation that might itself have been left for dead: When Frankenstein the Musical opened Off-Broadway in 2007, it lasted just seven weeks, while the higher-profile (if not ecstatically reviewed) Young Frankenstein packed ’em in on Broadway. When a new production of the former musical-but-not-a-parody version opens Oct. 23 at the Ernest Borgnine Theatre inside the Scottish Rite Even Center in this coastal city south of Los Angeles, it will mark the debut of Jonas Sills’ and Ray Buffer’s new company, Art-In-Relation (AIR).
Sills and Buffer aren’t just producing; they’re also starring in this original musical by Mark Baron (music), Jeffrey Jackson (lyrics and book) and Gary P. Cohen (book); Sills plays Victor Frankenstein and Buffer the creature. This adaptation follows Mary Shelley’s original novel and themes quite closely; its Victor is a tragic character who means well.
The cast includes 20 performers; steampunk-ish costuming by Michael Mullen; choreography by Long Beach’s own Nichole Beeks; lighting design by Jean-Yves Tessier and music direction Stephen Pu.
Sills and Buffer—SoCal and Florida natives, respectively—have previously produced choral concerts by Los Angeles Musical Theatre Youth Chorus. Their new company’s name is a reference to the Hindu deity Vāyu, who was known to give life through breath. Life through electricity is good, too.
Frankenstein the Musical runs Oct. 23-Nov. 1. To find out more, go to Art-In-Relation.