Bad news is staggering down from Young Frankenstein’s extravagant Broadway castle: When critics begin gathering with pitchforks and torches next weekend, the show’s star, Roger Bart (he plays the titular role Gene Wilder made famous in the film), may be benched with a herniated disc. A monstrous problem indeed, as the part demands extensive dancing, and according to Michael Riedel, Mel Brooks is panicking. (Isn’t Larry David available?) A little birdy tells Riedel: "One scenario has his doctor pumping him with cortisone so he can play the critics' performances and opening night, then take time off to heal. But that, as any dancer will tell you, is extremely risky."
Status-conscious tourists coughing up over $450 a ticket are bound to feel a little burned if they get stuck with an understudy in the lead role. Adam Feldman at Time Out NY recently performed a colonoscopy of sorts on Young Frankie’s record-setting ticket prices and pointed out that producers are only giving ammo to the stagehands’ union as they prepare to strike. TONY also got funny testimonials from three audience members who paid a premium to see the show in previews. Filthy rich Mel Brooks enthusiast/sucker Michael Platt snorted, “You just gotta bite the bullet and get great seats – it’s worth it. I paid $800 a seat for ten seats, through a broker, so it was either that or pay for my son’s bar mitzvah.” (Platt was kidding about that last bit – of course he also paid for the bar mitzvah, which we imagine taking place at Bungalow 8 with the New York Knicks dancers performing water ballet in a fountain of Veuve Clicquot, to a live performance by Maroon 5.)