John Szablewski Previews

Lancaster Regional Players Brings ‘Dracula’ Back To Life

For the literary gurus out there, one horror novel stands the test of time when it comes to thrilling your mind and that is Bram Stokers’ 1897 story called ‘Dracula.’ This novel, written as letters and diary entries, tells the story of the infamous aristocrat as he pines for youthful life and. . .blood. The story has been adapted into several films, and live plays, and the title character was made famous by Bela Lugosi, who portrayed Dracula, numerous times, both on Broadway and in the film directed by Tod Browning.

“I had always wanted to do Dracula,” says David Hall, who will be co-directing the Steven Deitz adaptation for Lancaster Regional Players, “I had been talking back and forth between the executive director of the Lancaster Opera House, and we had a few shows in mind, and finally, we were able to settle on this version of the story.”

Along with Hall, Joel Murphy co-directs this retelling of the classic tale. “David had approached me in 2015 with the idea to pitch the show,” says Murphy, “ he wanted to get a bunch of artists together to create the visual effects needed for it. I was really intrigued by this idea.”

“I think most people think of Bela Lugosi when they think of Dracula, and I wanted to try something different,” says Hall, who is known for taking classic shows and putting unique spins on them, “I always felt that the character was a little hokey when portrayed and that adds a campy feeling to the story that turned me off.”

There are countless versions of “Dracula” available for licensing rights, but choosing the right version is important to the director’s vision and design. “I liked the Dietz version the most because there was better character development,” says Hall.

“The story starts earlier, and both of our leading ladies are still alive,” adds Murphy.

The novel, in which the show is based, is very detailed and playwrights sometimes need to take liberties to condense the exposition. Usually, playwrights will not include all the characters from the novel because it can get a little confusing when trying to create a two hour stage play. In this version, Mina, and Lucy, are both still alive. Typically, one is not.

“I always loved ‘Dracula’ and I’ve always thought that the story was very sexual, and that the character was very intriguing,” says Hall,” You root for him. And you have to remember that he didn’t ask to be a vampire, he became one.

Lancaster Regional Players casts actors of all experience types in their productions. “The cast really stepped it up a notch. We have many different actors at different points in their careers and I think that they all intimated each other to be the best that they each can be,” laughs Murphy.

In modern times where vampires are mainstream, Murphy believes that the show has the potential to wrangle in an audience who will completely appreciate it. “We have an opportunity to expose a new generation to the story, who isn’t as familiar with it, and make it memorable,” says Murphy.

“Dracula” opens on October 6, 2017, is produced by Lancaster Regional Players, and is presented at the Lancaster Opera House. For more information, click here.