Stephen Carrasco grew up as a theaterloving kid in Okemos and some of his favorite memories involve attending shows at the Wharton Center. This week, Carrasco will return to Wharton, but he won’t be watching a show: He’ll be performing in one.
“I’m excited to be on the other side of it, for once,” he said about his role in “Young Frankenstein: The New Mel Brooks Musical,” now playing at Wharton. “It’s a dream come true.”
Carrasco, who is in the ensemble of the show, graduated from Okemos High School. He moved to New York after graduating from Syracuse University and is excited to be coming home for one stop of the tour.
“It’s so cool to be coming back as a performer now and bring what I do as a living to my hometown,” he said. “This is a huge production.”
“Young Frankenstein” is, of course, based on Brooks’ 1974 movie of the same name. The comedy follows the story of Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson, who inherits his grandfather’s castle — along with an odd couple of lab assistants — and repeats Frankenstein’s experiments.
This is Carrasco’s second national tour; he also performed in both the tour and Broadway versions of “White Christmas.” He said he had a front-row seat for “Young Frankenstein” in 2008, and he loved it. He saw the movie when he learned he was going to be performing in the show.
“I was a huge Mel Brooks fan,” he said. “I grew up on ‘Spaceballs’ and ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights.’ It’s very cool to be doing his work every night.”
Carrasco became interested in singing and dancing in high school, when he started lessons with Karyn Perry at Karyn’s Dance Place in Holt. He said Perry was the one who helped him realize how much he loved dancing. There are tentative plans in place for him to do a “Young Frankenstein” workshop through Karyn’s Dance Place while he is in town.
Being on the road means he doesn’t get to see his family often, but Carrasco said he is still very close to them and is excited to be able to see his extended family, many who haven’t seen him perform yet. Although he misses his family, he said he tries to look at the positives, such as going to many different cities for the tour. He said he was particularly fond of Chicago, where they stayed for six weeks.
“I loved that city,” he said. “It’s everything I love about New York, but it’s in the area of the country where I grew up.”
He also said that performing at the Kennedy Opera House in Washington was one of the highlights of his career. “I’ve seen it on TV so much that it was so cool to once again be on the other side of it and be performing on it,” he said. “I love singing and dancing, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I am so lucky to be doing something I love for a living.”
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