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Piper Theatre Kicks Off Free Summer Season with Frankenstein, Charlie Brown

 The theater company's production of "Frankenstein" is for adults and "brave children," organizers said.
Piper Theatre Kicks Off Free Summer Season with Frankenstein, Charlie Brown
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PARK SLOPE — A misunderstood monster and Park Slope's version of actress Kristin Chenoweth will be entertaining families at the Old Stone House this month.

Piper Theatre's annual free summer performance series kicks off this week with outdoor productions of the classic horror tale "Frankenstein" and the musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."

The Charlie Brown show is family-friendly, but "Frankenstein," which premieres July 5, is recommended only for adults and "brave children," said director John McEneny.

Romanian actor Vasile Flutur, who plays The Creature, has bleached his hair and eyebrows white for the production and wears layers of clay make-up that flake off throughout the show.

“He's ghastly looking," McEneny said. "It’s really grotesque, and really exciting stuff, particularly for outdoor theater."

McEneny, who is also a drama teacher at M.S. 51, called the 4-minute sequence when Flutur comes to life as The Creature "one of the most exciting pieces of theater I've seen in my life."

The play tackles themes of fathers and sons, and explores the idea "of a man who's created life and doesn't know how to take responsibility for it," McEneny said. The production incorporates short films that show glimpses of who The Creature was before he was turned into a monster.

Piper's production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," which premieres July 6, offers a more light-hearted experience. It features "jazzy" music and a "great message," McEneny said.

Regulars at Piper Theatre performances will recognize actress Alissa Laderer as Charlie Brown's sister Sally. Laderer won local hearts when she starred as Kira in Piper's production of "Xanadu" in 2012, McEneny said.

"She’s got a little bit of a following here in Park Slope," McEneny said. "She's gorgeous and very, very funny. She's kind of the Park Slope equivalent of Kristin Chenoweth."