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the early word

‘Young Frankenstein’: You’ll Never Believe What They’re Calling Megan Mullally

Erin Baiano/Paul Kolnik Studio/Paramount


The young woman outside the Paramount Theatre says she’s come to the Seattle preview of Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’s follow-up to his tremendous hit The Producers, because she’s a “bitch.” “And so is Megan Mullally!” she squeals. “From Will & Grace! She’s a bitch, I'm a bitch. We have a connection!” Ms. Mullally’s superfan is among an older and decidedly more guarded crowd — the middle-aged couple sitting next to us came because they got a deal when they bought tickets to Spamalot.

No critics have had a crack at Frankenstein because it’s still just a pre-Broadway production. Mullally, here playing Elizabeth, the monster’s fiancée, does get the crowd excited, as do a couple of big dance numbers. They hollered after “Join the Family Business,” where the ghosts of Dr. Frankenstein’s ancestors whirl in little cyclones of lab coats and antique beards. But the people aren’t here to see a new musical — they’ve come for a dazzling rehash of the movie. They go bonkers for their favorite old jokes while barely chuckling at the few new ones (this being Seattle, they laugh obligingly at a punch line involving a complicated espresso drink).

By the end of the three-hour spectacle, the audience begins to lose patience. Children squirm. Adults start to yawn. The curtain call is mercifully short. "Um, yeah, it's good," a woman in a black-sequined top says into her cell phone as the crowd surges toward the doors. "But, you know — it's definitely pre-Broadway." — Brendan Kiley