To kids, it means “Trick or Treat” to the older kids of all ages, Halloween means memories and spooky stories; and what can be more Halloweenish than “Dracula”!
Just in time for Halloween, Theatre for Young America mounted their own shorter version of the Bram Stoker classic tale of vampires roaming the earth and sucking the blood from victims in Romania and England. Written in 1897, the gothic classic spins folklore and tales into a thrilling horror story that remains popular today.
Most popular as a black and white movie starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, the movie always shows on many channels for Halloween season. Numerous versions of the movie have been made, and the character has resurrected to create more current horror movies.
For TYA, director Valerie Mackey, said that she wanted to stay true to the original story and carefully clipped each scene to present the horror classic, just in a one hour format. To do so, some characters were eliminated, some expanded, and others slightly changed. When seeing the TYA version, the story still works but be ready to see some updates.
“Dracula” at TYA did some gender bending for some characters, but rest assured the story remains the same. Count Dracula becomes Countess Dracula, and the crazed Renfield is also cast as a female. The biting and deaths remain the same.
TYA’s younger cast display their talents and their sense of character. For a younger crowd, some of the blood and gore are minimized to not terrorize patrons. Clearly, these aspiring actors show their stage presence and understanding of character.
To help create the magic, the set design, lighting, sound, costumes, and make-up are integral parts of this production. The creative team definitely showed their prowess.
The cast of TYA’s “Dracula” is: Josie Lenati as Dracula, Grey Crist as Athansia, River Ball as Zillah, Kieran Ford/Violet Rollins as Thanotos, Adam Kellogg as Van Helsing, Anya Myers as Renfield, Jacob Parker as Seward, Nico Bernal as Woman/Marvin, Zoe English as Young Woman/Daisy, Jami Lenati as Maid, Jayley Smith as Lucy, Issac Robinson as Harker, Ray Cordell as Mina.
The production staff is: Valerie Mackey, director; Mieke Westra, stage manager; Alexandra Piley, production stage manager; Charlie Weitkamp, technical director; Sheryl Bryant, costumes; Zachary Hampton, costumes; Sheryl Bryant, education director; Kylor Greene, lighting designer.
“Dracula” continues at TYA on City Stage on the lower level of Union Station through Nov. 2. Tickets can be purchased through the Theatre for Young America website.
Tags: “Dracula” review, Theatre for Young America, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment