Meet NTPA’s Young Frankenstein: Shawn Lane

Photo provided by NTPA.
Meet Shawn Lane, the lead in tonight's performance of Young Frankenstein at NTPA. Lane comes to NTPA with experience at TCC and STAND Performing Arts.

Before Young Frankenstein kicks off tonight at North Texas Performing Arts, we’ve had a chance to sit down and get to know the star of the show, Young Frankenstein himself — Shawn Lane.

What got you into theatre?

I’ve been doing theatre since I was eight years old. It started when I was in an assembly at my elementary school and this performance group came to the school. They were called KidStand at the time. They did a Red Ribbon Week performance and at the end of the assembly, they were like, “Hey, we’re teaching the singing, dancing and acting classes for young people.” They gave me a flyer and I went home and I was like, “Mom, I want to do this thing.” She took me to their meets every Saturday, and I’ve been with them ever since.Most of my acting experience comes from acting with them, either at my own performances for Red Ribbon Week at various elementary schools or on stage for productions that we put on. This show, Young Frankenstein, is my first full step into 100% professional acting and I’m having a wonderful time. It’s absolutely fantastic. Probably the best starting experience I could have.

What was your experience like getting ready to play in Young Frankenstein?

I did a Young Frankenstein show earlier this year with Tarrant County College. That time I played Igor, the hunchbacked character. This time, I’m playing Freddie, Victor Frankenstein’s grandson. So I was already in the mindset of the show before we got into it because of how fresh the other one was in my mind. But getting into character for Freddie is very interesting, because I feel a strong connection with him a lot of the time. He’s a very nerdy, dedicated, hyper fixating kind of person. And being a massive nerd myself, I love fantasy and science fiction and interesting science facts and things like that. It’s relatively easy for me to get into character with him and connect with him. All I really have to do is just imagine what it would be like if my grandfather was constantly in the back of my head telling me to be crazy, which is essentially what Fredrick is going through throughout most of the show. So my prep work is very fun, and it feels it feels natural a lot of the time. It helps though, with my cast being so wonderful and supportive and also getting into character of themselves.

Photo provided by NTPA.

Speaking of cast, what has it been like shifting from working with STAND Performing Arts and TCC to working with NTPA?

The biggest shift is everybody is dedicated — very, very, very dedicated to the time that we have. We’re all professionals. We’re all here because we want to spend our time in this show. And that’s, I think, the the biggest difference. We, everybody in the cast is 100% focused and dedicated to the show, especially right now.

It’s probably the most fun I’ve had as an actor in my career so far. I hope that I can say that about a different show in the future, but this show has been an absolutely wonderful, fantastic learning experience and getting to meet all of these people who I love now and are super close friends with has been a true joy. It’s awesome.

If we were to describe the show to someone who’s never seen it, how would you describe it?

Spooky and hilarious. We all know the original story of Frankenstein. Victor creates a monster and the monster turns on him and everybody freaks out. But this show, it takes that and turns it into a a funny version, where the monster is kind of cute and also dumb. But he’s just a sweetheart at the center of himself. And Frederick is insane, and also kind of dumb in his own special way. So it’s it’s very similar to the storyline of like, classic Frankenstein, just with the twists of Mel Brooks and the kind of humor that he likes to write with.

The show is a wonderful, wonderful start to the spooky season. It’s October and everybody’s thinking about Halloween and going out and doing the spooky things. It is it has the same vibe but it’s not scary. Because a lot of people might not be too invested in the scary portion of the spooky season. They just like the the dressing up and fun vibe of it. So that’s what this show provides. A lot of it is the fun and spooky creepy vibe without being actually scary.

Where are you looking to take your acting career in the future?

I am going to Tarrant County College and pursuing a basic associate’s degree, but I do want to pursue an acting career. To that end, I did recently get an agent and I’m actively trying to book jobs for commercials and film and things like that. But that is my goal. I want to use the stuff that I’ve learned from KidStand as well as the show that I’m in right now to further an acting career in film and commercial. Hopefully that can evolve into some other different things down the line, but as of right now my plan is to invest more heavily in a film career.

Young Frankenstein is showing Oct. 6-15 at NTPA. Tickets can be purchased online, and range from $20-$35. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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