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Fankenstein: A New Musical

Fankenstein: A New Musical

by Douglas E. Love
Monday, September 13, 2010

After a twenty-year absence, local theatre icon Eddie Urish makes a triumphant return to the Peoria Players’ stage as the director of “Frankenstein: A New Musical.”

You should know off the bat to leave all your preconceived notions of Frankenstein at home, because this show is no Halloween-spoof.  No, no, no.

What Urish and his team have brought to the stage is big league stuff.  “Frankenstein: A New Musical” is nothing less than a full-blown theatrical experience.

The music is demanding, the performances are physically exhausting, yet this cast is astonishing, their performances are exhilarating, and the music is both haunting and beautiful.

It seems somewhat ironic that Peoria Players would kick off their 91st season with a show so modern, new, and fresh.  And yet, like an old-time opera, there is no dialogue, just song melting into song, backed with a rich ensemble that functions like a Greek Chorus. 

Some of the music is absolutely breathtaking.  And Urish stacked the deck.  He’s got John Huerta playing Victor Frankenstein, and Roger Roemer as the Creature.  They both have outstanding voices, and right there with them are Julie Boesch, Bryan Blanks, Carol Urish, Bill Ciardini, Barb Couri, Anyana Pankey, Fred Shoen, and little Ellie Urish.  How wonderful is that.

Authors Mark Baron, Jeffrey Jackson, and Gary P. Cohen have tried to faithfully follow Mary Shelley’s original novel.  Their attention was devoted to character development, to smooth and fluid pacing, and to the rebirth of an old story.

When our story begins, it is 1793, and the captain of an Artic exploration ship has just discovered a dying man, Victor Frankenstein, adrift on a floe of ice.  Frankenstein proceeds to tell the captain his story in flashback. 

We are introduced to a young Victor, a bright boy with a passionate interest in the sciences.  We also meet his parents, his adopted sister, his best friend Henry, and Elizabeth, who will one day become his love interest.

When Victor’s mother unexpectedly dies, the young man dedicates his life to creating life.

In an attempt to create the perfect human being, he accidentally creates a hideous Creature; and when he tries to kill his creation, the Creature sets out to exact vengeance on Victor Frankenstein.

“Frankenstein: A New Musical” is a captivating show, with mesmerizing music, and packed full of incredible voices.  You won’t want to miss this one.

Show dates and times for “Frankenstein: A New Musical” are September 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m.  Special Sunday matinee performances are September 12 and 19 at 2:30 p.m.  Individual ticket prices are $17 for adults and $12 for patrons 18 and under.  Tickets are available online at, a $1 convenience fee will be added to each online ticket.  You can also purchase tickets through the Peoria Players box office at 4300 N. University, corner of Lake and University, or by calling 309-688-4473.