While the feel of the newest production at Butterfield Stage in Gainesville may be reminiscent of the 1960s CBS television show, “The Munsters” and the ABC show “The Addams Family,” as well as the 1990s film version of the latter, Butterfield Director Charlene Ledbetter said the comedy “The Creature Creeps” is all its own. The play opened Friday and will continue to show this weekend and next weekend at Butterfield Stage.
The one-set play takes place in the parlor of Castle Von Blitzen in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania where Baron Von Blitzen has a secret laboratory.
“When you think about ‘The Munsters,’ they were just like a normal family that just happened to be monsters,” Ledbetter said. “It is kind of the way this is. It really reminds me of ‘Young Frankenstein.’ It is a very funny look at the whole story, irreverent and really fun. It is really farcical in every single way.”
Ledbetter said there are a lot of fun elements within the play.
“This is like an actor’s dream show,” she said. “So as actors are coming to audition, what I am really thinking about is who can take this over the top and who can make us laugh uproariously, who can make us laugh in this role, who can be the dopiest and who can carry off. All of those people need to be able to take it over the top. There is also key characters — in ‘Young Frankenstein’ it is the Igor character — and that person has a huge role where they have to not only be funny, they have to be physically funny and then comical in the delivery.”
The key when casting roles for this show was to choose individuals who have no reservations about going out and putting their whole selves into the show.
“I would call this a spoof of a spoof,” Ledbetter said. “It is sort of a ‘Young Frankenstein’ meets ‘The Munsters.’ It is very funny. It is hilariously funny and it is definitely a spoof on the ‘Dracula,’ ‘Frankenstein’ and any of those old horror movies. It is very kid-friendly and is not really scary.”
Under the direction of Ledbetter, acting in the show are three other Butterfield Stage directors Russel Schmid, Deb Campbell and Shannon Rivoire.
“There is a scene where there are more special effects than you would normally have at a community theater production and there are so many great moments,” Ledbetter said. “It is hard to pick. You are going to see the stage transform and the light transform. It is going to be a complete multimedia experience. I am very excited to see what is going to happen with that.”
Other cast members include Cabie Lamb, Mary Jo Dollar, Terry Colquitt, Adrien Wright, Jace Bridwell, Cassie Newton, Lisa Cato, Becca Stubs and Ty Belger.
“I have worked with people who are nervous and the best thing I can tell them is prepare, prepare, prepare,” Ledbetter said. “Know your part inside and out and know your character. Nobody knows your character like you do and have a great time. Do not worry about the audience so much and have a great time. Be in your scene and have a great time. Have fun with your cast. I know that if you are having fun, the audience is having fun watching you.”
As for Ledbetter, this is not her first directing job. She has directed shows in Pilot Point and she has worked as a tech at Butterfield Stage in the past.
“And, when this show came on the plate, they knew they were going to need someone to direct it,” she said. “But, they also knew they were going to need a wizard to create a mad scientist laboratory. My husband and I are the perfect team to do that. That is really how it happened. They knew this was the right theme because they knew they had someone who can direct as well as create this mad scientist themed laboratory. We had a blast doing just that.”
Comedy is Ledbetter’s favorite genre because of the happy endings.
“For years, my husband and I have said that if we won the lottery, we want to build a big outdoor stage and do outdoor theater,” she said. “So whether it is a ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ or a ‘Hello Dolly,’ we think that it would be really big fun to have our own theater and just be able to make crazy sets and have a lot of fun. We just enjoy working with sets and props and effects. We also love working with a team of folks who just unleash that creativity that they have and see what happens.”
The play will show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and March 8-9, as well as at 2:30 p.m. on March 10. Tickets can be purchased by calling 940-665-1284 or visiting http://www.ButterfieldStage.org. Butterfield Stage is located at 201 S. Denton in Gainesville.