Interview: Zachary Joseph Tate - "Young Frankenstein"

Zachary Joseph Tate is a is a second-year Entertainment Media Studies major and Theatre minor from Savannah, GA. He currently is portraying The Monster in Young Frankenstein - The Musical.

Zachary Tate,  The Monster  in  Young Frankenstein

Zachary Tate, The Monster in Young Frankenstein

Who is The Monster to you?
The Monster is very interesting. Naturally, he is loads of fun to play. I have had such a great time with this role, and even this late into the process I am still discovering things about him that I had no idea of before. He gets frightened quite easily, often times inflicting damage on those around him, albeit in great comedic fashion. However, he is definitely a quick learner, which proves to be very challenging for Frederick at times. His heart is definitely in a good place though.

What are your favorite things about The Monster? What are you least favorite things about him ?
I love his curiosity. Since he’s always picking up on things around him, certain aspects of him change from scene to scene. It's very satisfying to get to play with that. To be honest, there is not much that I dislike about The Monster. Granted I may be a little biased, but he is a pretty lovable character.

Be honest: Have you seen the movie this show is based on?
Of course I have! It's classic Mel Brooks. I’d probably recommend watching it before coming to the show, but I definitely don’t feel it's a requirement to be able to follow the story. Previewing the movie beforehand definitely assists in getting a handful of the jokes though.

In what ways is this musical adaptation different from the film? What should the audience expect?
The overall plot is generally the same. Inspector Kemp does have a slightly larger role in the musical version. He is one of my favorite characters so I think this is a great thing. Audiences, and especially fans of the film, should expect to be thoroughly entertained for a full 2 hours. The entire cast is so talented and there are many times in rehearsal when I’m just standing there, watching them in awe. I don’t feel like I belong in the same show as them. They’re also just such a great group of people. I’ve never felt more welcomed by a cast in my whole life.

Why do you think this play is important to today? What makes it relevant?
Admittedly, the show is rather lighthearted, but I still think it carries some important themes. Among them lies identity. Both Frederick and Elizabeth struggle with an identity crisis, and I think it is hard not to connect to either of them on some level. Young Frankenstein also functions very well as an escape from the troubles of today. The show’s humor is timeless and relatable. As cliche as it may sound, I think it will be very hard for audiences not to leave the theatre with a smile on their faces.

Come see the show! And if you’re there the same night as my mom, say hey to her for me. She’s great.

Young Frankenstein opens April 5. Tickets at ugatheatre.com/frank