Like the vampire himself, you can't kill Dracula. The legendary Bram Stoker character has risen in a new singing incarnation in Frank Wildhorn's Broadway-bound musical, opening Oct. 28 at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. After several days' delay, Dracula, the Musical began its world premiere Oct. 13 for an extended run through Nov. 25.
Problems with the scenery in the large-scale production, and delays with receiving materials from New York City in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, caused the cancellation of previews Oct. 9-12. In a released statement, La Jolla Playhouse managing director Terrence Dwyer said, "We did everything in our power to make up for lost time, but our creative team and major elements of the physical production were delayed in getting to San Diego. Dracula, The Musical is technically complex, and we need these two additional days to fully prepare the show for its first audiences." Early on, the show was scheduled to open Oct. 14, which was later changed to Oct. 21.
2001 Tony nominee Tom Hewitt (The Rocky Horror Show, The Lion King) stars as the blood-thirsty count, backwards aging from a 70 year-old Translyvanian in his castle into a handsome 30-something seducing London's beautiful young women.
That includes the fiance of Dracula's solicitor Jonathan Harker, Mina and her flirtatious friend, Lucy. Harker is played by Tom Stuart with Jenn Morse as Mina and Amy Rutberg (The Civil War on tour) as Lucy. Also in the cast are Joe Cassidy, Chris Hoch and Lee Morgan as Lucy's suitors, Jack Seward, Arthur Holmwood and Quincy Morris. Tom Flynn (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Who's Tommy) is the vampire hunter Van Helsing. William Youmans (Titanic, Big River) is a former solicitor with Harker's company who is driven mad by Dracula. Dracula is often accompanied by a chorus of vampiresses played by Jenny-Lynn Suckling, Lynnette Marrero, Jodi Stevens and Margaret Ann Gates.
La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Des McAnuff (Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) directs. Mindy Cooper (Titanic) choreographs. Atlantic Records has already promised an original cast recording. Christopher Hampton (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Savages) and Don Black collaborated on the book and lyrics. Black's previous theatrical experience includes several Andrew Lloyd Webber projects—the Tony Award-winning Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love and Tell Me on a Sunday, the sung part of Song and Dance. He won an Academy Award for the song "Born Free." He and Hampton both worked together on Sunset.
Designing Dracula are John Arnone (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Howelll Binkley (lighting), ACME Sound Partners (sound) and Michael Clark (media).
La Jolla Playhouse is located on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road. For reservations, call (858) 550-1010. La Jolla Playhouse is on the web at http://www.lajollaplayhouse.com.
— By Christine Ehren