Buck Creek Players; Directed by D. Scott Robinson; through June 19.
Buck Creek took a gamble in staging the Indiana premiere of this 2007 Broadway musical, because it closely follows Mary Shelley's 1818 novel rather than the widely known horror films and Mel Brooks' movie it inspired (there were a few giggles last Sunday when this serious version recalled too closely Brook's comic version). I love the original, not for its observation that science is run amok, but for the moody isolation it describes through the tale of Frankenstein, a young scientist who is cut off from his own life by his bizarre quest to reanimate the dead.
Buck Creek's gamble is lost, because the musical's 22 back-to-back songs (music by Mark Baron and book and lyrics by Jeffrey Jackson) build plot rapidly and assign "roles" (dead mother, loving dad, childhood sweetheart) without building character. The cast, especially Daniel Robert as Frankenstein and Kelly Najacht as his fiance Elizabeth, sing effectively and the music is occasionally moving, but the lyrics are painfully hackneyed (Elizabeth pines, "I miss you so, I love you so"). The play's most redeeming moments belong to The Creature (played fiercely by Dante J.L. Murray), when he lashes out at Frankenstein ("You may be my creator, but I am your master").
The altered ending almost gets to the heart of their love story, but there's too much missing upfront to make the whole of the play work.