Broadway's Dracula Will Not Be a Bodice-Ripper at Matinees Starting Aug. 25

News   Broadway's Dracula Will Not Be a Bodice-Ripper at Matinees Starting Aug. 25
 
Dracula, the new Broadway musical that promises flying vampires, eerie crypts and sensuous forbidden passion, is also offering sensual forbidden passion, as preview audiences have seen.

But — starting Aug. 25 — the nudity of the show's leading ladies will not be seen at matinees, apparently as a concession by producers to attract family audiences.

Responding to a Playbill On-Line inquiry, a spokesman for the show said, "Wednesday and Saturday matinees of Dracula will not contain nudity as of the Wednesday Aug. 25 matinee. All other performances will contain female nudity."

As director Des McAnuff and company continue to explore the material in previews (the run started July 30 at the Belasco, opening is Aug. 19), female nudity has emerged as one of the talked-about aspects of the production.

Kelli O'Hara's Lucy, sans nightgown, is confronted by the titular vampire count in her bedchamber. As rehearsals continued, Melissa Errico's ecstatic Mina ended up baring her bosom as Dracula drew near.

According to a company member, as of Aug. 6 there has been no full-company meeting or announcement about the matinee nudity issue. The New York Post reported Aug. 6 that producers sent a memo to group sales agents saying nudity would be cut for matinees. A sign at the box office at the Belasco indicates the show is rated PG-13, which, translated from the movie industry definition, advises that parents be "strongly cautioned" that "some material may be inappropriate for children under 13."

One company member pointed out the cultural irony that the violence, blood, fear, terror and murder in Dracula is apparently more acceptable to some audiences than any hint of flesh.

A glimpse of skin in the staging shouldn't be so surprising: Since it was first published in 1897, "Dracula" by Bram Stoker has be seen by many as being about unleashing the passions that simmer under Victorian corsets and waistcoats.

"The very idea of exchanging fluids is a huge metaphor for sex," said one Dracula company member. "'I am penetrating your skin, I am drinking from you': It's a very sexual metaphor, and people already know that from the mythology of Dracula. If they come in prepared to see people bitten, why aren't they prepared for more?"

In other words, were you expecting Little Women?

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Inspired by the Bram Stoker gothic novel, "Dracula," the musical is by composer Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde) and lyricist-librettists Christopher Hampton (Sunset Blvd., Les Liaisons Dangereuses) and Don Black (Sunset Blvd., Aspects of Love). Tony Award winner Des McAnuff (The Who's Tommy, Big River) directs the show, which features Tom Hewitt (The Rocky Horror Show) as Dracula and Melissa Errico (Amour) as Mina.

The musical had a world premiere developmental run at the La Jolla Playhouse in California in 2001.

"Aerial staging" is by Rob Besserer.

The production also features Don Stephenson as Renfield, Darren Ritchie as Jonathan Harker, Kelli O'Hara as Lucy Westenra, Chris Hoch as Arthur Holmwood, Bart Shatto as Quincey Morris, Shonn Wiley as Jack Seward and Stephen McKinley Henderson as Abraham Van Helsing, with Celina Carvajal, Melissa Fagan, Jenifer Foote, Anthony Holds, Pamela Jordan, Elizabeth Loyacano, Tracy Miller, Graham Rowat, Megan Sikora and Chuck Wagner.

Choreography is by Mindy Cooper, with musical direction by conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos. Orchestrations are by Doug Besterman. Designers are Heidi Ettinger (scenic), Catherine Zuber (costume), Howell Binkley (lighting) and Acme Sound Partners (sound).

Designer Ettinger is remembered for her Tony-winning work designing the physical worlds for the Broadway musicals The Secret Garden and Big River.

Dracula, The Musical is produced on Broadway by Dodger Stage Holding and Joop van den Ende, in association with Clear Channel Entertainment.

Tickets are on sale now through www.telecharge.com or (212) 239-6200 and (800) 223-7565 or at the Belasco Theatre (111 West 44th Street).

Visit www.DraculaonBroadway.com.

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