"Frankenstein has been one of my favorite classics since I started reading classic literature. I was 15 when I read it, and I wanted to write a musical based on it."
He never wrote that musical, but the next best thing happened. He was cast as Victor in Frankenstein: A New Musical.
Aiken Community Playhouse opens its 2010-11 season Friday with the South Carolina premier of the show.
The musical sticks closer to Mary Shelley's original work than the famous Universal movies, which is one of the things that appealed to director Danny Lee.
"It's really about acceptance. Like in the book, the creature is trying to find acceptance in a world where he just doesn't belong," Lee said.
Jerry West, who plays The Creature, said he grew up with the Hollywood version of Frankenstein -- Boris Karloff's big, green creature.
"When I got the role, people kept asking if I was going to be green, with bolts sticking out of my neck. I saw clips of the Broadway version and thought the creature was actually a little too good-looking. He spent a lot of time with his shirt off," West said.
In the musical, as in the book, Victor's creation is more human.
"As The Creature, I have this struggle every time I kill someone," West said.
"I wonder why I can't stop."
"No question about it; this is a tragedy," King said. "It's a case of overinflated ambition with the best of intentions turning out very, very wrong."