‘Frankenstein’ comes alive in latest Greensburg Civic Theatre production

November 3, 2018 GMT

Austin Tichenor’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, “Frankenstein,” will provide a scary start to Greensburg Civic Theatre’s 67th season Oct. 18-20 at Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.

Veteran actor and director Vince D’Angelo of Oakmont is back in the area and returning to the theater to direct GCT’s production, after having worked at Disney World in Orlando for eight years. Before that, he was a teacher for the Diocese of Greensburg for more than 20 years.

“I was very anxious to get back into theater,” he said.

D’Angelo performed in and directed numerous GCT shows in past years, including productions of “Dracula” and “The King and I,” among others.

In addition to Greensburg Civic, he has worked with Valley Players of Ligonier, Apple Hill Playhouse, Sherwood Forest Theatre and Westmoreland Academy of Performing Arts.

Board member, director

ADVERTISEMENT

He was invited to serve on GCT’s board of directors and was asked to direct the fall show.

His biggest challenge in taking on the director’s role, he said, was finding a good script to work with and finding a good cast.

“Luckily, we had a talented group auditioning for ‘Frankenstein,’ so casting was easy,” said D’Angelo, who enjoys working with creative people in all aspects of production.

Not like the movie

This adaptation is vastly different from the Boris Karloff movie, according to the director.

It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a promising young doctor who, devastated by the death of his mother during childbirth, becomes obsessed with bringing the dead back to life.

“The Creature is like a child who has been rejected by his parents and is looking for his ‘father’s’ attention. Outwardly ugly, he is a poetic soul who allows revenge at rejection to get the best of him,” he says.

Josh Schaefer of Connellsville will portray Victor Frankenstein, and Jason Baker of Monessen takes on the role of The Creature.

“I’d say my biggest challenge is portraying a character that is both sad and villainous at the same time,” Schaefer said. “I love the themes of the play: love, loss, death, life, denial and responsibility.”

Layne Lueckert of Greensburg plays Elizabeth Lavenza, Frankenstein’s love interest.

“She’s the classic romantic lead, but she has some moxie,” Lueckert said. “She doesn’t mind telling Frankenstein how it is and I adore that. The biggest challenge for me is having her matronly instinct. She’s always looking out for William and that’s something that I have to always keep in the back of my head.

“Other than that, I have a lot in common with Elizabeth. She was definitely a feminist for her time and I love that.”

She said the show has some scary moments, but she doesn’t feel it’s too graphic for kids.

The cast also includes Scott Walton of Blairsville, Christopher Carrolli and Dakota Morrison of Greensburg, Casey Arn of Butler, Conor McQueen of Mt. Pleasant, William S. White of Monessen and Mandy Simpson of Monessen.