Actors Roblin and Kluver Talk ‘Young Frankenstein’

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June 4th, 2014

Omaha, NE — A musical adaptation of a Mel Brooks classic looks to finish the season strong for the Omaha Playhouse.

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Cast Members Spencer Williams (Igor), Ablan Roblin (Frederick), and Kirstin Kluver (Inga)

Cast Members Spencer Williams (Igor), Ablan Roblin (Frederick), and Kirstin Kluver (Inga)

Running through June 29th, Young Frankenstein, the classic Mel Brooks movie turned stage musical, finishes out the latest mainstage season from the Omaha Community Playhouse. One of the biggest challenges for performers in these types of shows,is finding your our voice in the show while still honoring the iconic moments that have stood the test of time for audience members. Lead actor Ablan Roblin, who plays Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, said that directors Carl Beck and Susie Baer Collins were instrumental in helping tackle that objective.

“Carl and Susie did an excellent job of just laying everything out there and giving us the opportunity to go out and try different things,” he said. “But you also want to honor the comedy. It’s a style. Mel Brooks is a style of comedy, no doubt about it.”

Director Carl Beck noted that for a piece of musical fluff, the show is extremely large and complex. Huge scene changes, a large ensemble cast, complex dance numbers and a constant demand of high energy make the show a tall task for designers, crew members, and performers alike. In fact, Beck said in many ways, this production is even bigger than Les Miserables, the musical epic that started off the Playhouse Season.

Cast member Kirstin Kluver, who plays Inga, noted that the biggest help to the performers was the layering of performative elements; first the music, then the dance, then the technical, until a full production was achieved.

“With the technical aspect, they’ve been really kind by layering it in so I don’t get overwhelmed or forget anything structurally. Bits and pieces are added on,” she said.

Roblin added, “And after awhile it just becomes about stamina. It’s a big show. After you get all those layers you get it up and running and it’s a workout.”

Among the massive set pieces is a gigantic hayrack for the iconic ‘roll in ze hay’ scene. For the sequence, set builders created a huge a hayrack that rests on top of industrial strength automotive springs. That didn’t stop Roblin and Kluver though from putting the set piece to the test.

“The first time we got on it though, we about tipped it over in about two minutes,” Kluver laughed. “One of the springs cracked and made a noise is shouldn’t have. Then I skinned my knee so I ended up bleeding all over the cart! They were like ‘Get off! Get off the wagon!”

“They gave us five minutes and we tore it up, we broke it!” said Roblin.

The best part about the process Roblin said, is the chance to live out one of his favorite comedies.

“It’s kind of fun to have this film that I watched all the time as a kid and I get to be in it. I get to say those words. It’s a blast to be able to do that. It’s so much fun,” he said.

The Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of Young Frankenstein runs through June 29th. For ticket information, call 402-553-0800 or visit www.OmahaPlayhouse.com.

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