Playing the parts
Among the human stars on the show was John Cardin, in what will be his final role on the stage, as a blind beggar.
Giallanella Carradine was doing such nonsense – B movies and commercials. He was an old man, but he still had that deep, rich, whiskey sound. During the previews, Joe rented a showroom and showed us “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein” [from 1935, in which Carradine had an uncredited bit part]. Someone turned to him and said, “This is a great movie. What’s your memory of that?” He stood up for a minute and said, “He worked two days.”
Carrie Robins, fashion designer His hands were so full of arthritis that he couldn’t get dressed. I had a pretty little wardrobe that was able to hide in the “fireplace” of the old man’s hut and help him out.
The role of Victor Frankenstein has gone to William Converse Roberts, a recent Yale drama graduate who will be making his debut on Broadway. After extensive auditions for other actors, the creature part went to Keith Yochem, who was already starting the role in St. Louis.
Giallanella Nobody was nailing it. I went to Joe and said, “You have to get Keith.” They did not want to do that. They wanted someone who had at least New York credibility.
Martorella Keith’s performance was incredibly moving. We had 10 minutes, and ended up reading for half an hour. Then he came back in the afternoon in the makeup he designed [for St. Louis]. In my diary I wrote, “He totally transformed himself into a pile of horror.” I can still see the faces of Tom, Joe and Victor. They were in awe.
The show began in the mansion on October 23, 1980. The crew began with 15 theater workers, which soon swelled to 36. The start of the previews was delayed due to the complexity of Douglas Schmidt’s sets, spinning on a giant rotating disc, and due to issues with effects such as the Tesla coil, which was escalated Its full intensity over the course of workouts.