Fresno Beehive

Visalia company gets ‘Brooksy’ with ‘Young Frankenstein’

The cast of Theater Arts Alliance’s “Young Frankenstein.” Clockwise from top left: Katie LaBlue as Frau Blúcher, Zac Cromer as Igor, Adrian Oceguera as Frederick, Felicity Brophy as Inga, and Brooke Rogers as Elizabeth.
The cast of Theater Arts Alliance’s “Young Frankenstein.” Clockwise from top left: Katie LaBlue as Frau Blúcher, Zac Cromer as Igor, Adrian Oceguera as Frederick, Felicity Brophy as Inga, and Brooke Rogers as Elizabeth. Special to The Bee

Ah, the strange props you need when staging the musical “Young Frankenstein.” Where do you find a pair of “big knockers” and several human brains? Visalia’s Theater Arts Alliance faced this challenge and others in staging the popular Mel Brooks show, which opens Thursday, May 26. It’s one of my top arts picks for the week.

Classic comedy

The event: “Young Frankenstein” is directed by Limuel Forgey, with Chavaleh Forgey as musical director and special choreography by Teresa Vidak of DanceArts.

The draw: The Broadway version, based on the 1974 film, includes many of the famed gags of the movie, including the running gag of the horses whinnying at the mention of Frau Blúcher. Is much of the humor on the silly side? Of course. But there’s a sophistication there, too. “One of the greatest things about producing a Mel Brooks show,” Limuel Forgey says, ”is that his sense of comedy is at once clever and deep and as low brow and deliciously bawdy as a naughty 12-year-old boy.”

12Number of times horses whinny at the mention of Frau Blúcher in “Young Frankenstein.”

The cast: The leading roles reflect a wide local geography, including Adrian Oceguera (Selma) as Frederick Frankenstein, Felicity Brophy (Visalia) as Inga, Katie LaBlue (Fresno/Hanford) as Frau Blúcher, Zac Cromer (Visalia) as Igor and Dan Peters (Visalia) as Monster.

Details: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 28; Main Street Theatre, 307 E. Main St., Visalia. www.theaterartsalliance.com, www.brownpapertickets.com, 800-838-3006. $20.

Youth Orchestras of Fresno

The event: Hundreds of musicians of all ages representing the combined orchestras and programs of the Youth Orchestras of Fresno are gathering to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the organization.

The draw: Music director Thomas Loewenheim offers a crowd-pleasing program with a distinct Disney “Fantasia” theme: the famous Bach-Stokowski Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Mussorgsky’s spooky “Night on Bald Mountain,” and the once-controversial “Rite of Spring” by Stravinsky. Plus, you get a Mussorgsky bonus: his “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The players represent the Youth Chamber Orchestra, Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Accent on Access violin program students from local elementary schools. A large number of the organization’s alumni will be on stage, too.

Fun fact: Back in the 1950s, the group was known as the Kiwanis Youth Orchestra. The anniversary concert is supported by the clubs making up the Division Five Kiwanis region.

Details: 4 p.m. Sunday, May 29, Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. www.youthorchestrasfresno.org. Tickets are free with donations accepted.

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