Some of the special spooky treats and unique theatre events available this Halloween season are listed below. We will update this piece through Oct. 31.
Shocktoberfest Features San Francisco's Thrillpeddlers Oct. 27-30
San Francisco's Thrillpeddlers, led by Artistic Director Russell Blackwood and Managing Director Daniel Zilber, return this season with Shocktoberfest, a Halloween event featuring three classic plays of horror, madness, and, yes, spanking. The plays scheduled at Shocktoberfest include Frederick Witney's The Celibate (1945), which is about uncontrollable urges that lead to an unnatural obsession. Celibate was originally banned in England for its sexual themes and shocking violence. Next up is A Visit to Mrs. Birch and the Young Ladies of the Academy (Anonymous, 1888) , about deals with the time honored tradition of corporal punishment in the schools -- production sources say that britches will be dropped. Finally, Andre de Lorde and Alfred Binet's A Crime In A Madhouse (1925), which is about aged lunatics taking revenge on the young and innocent. From the repertoire of Le Theatre du Grand Guignol, this play has horrified audiences for decades.
Already underway, Shocktoberfest plays Oct. 27-30 at 8 PM at the EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on the night of performance at the door. For reservations, call (415) 820-1432 or visit www.thrillpeddlers.com.
Shakespeare and Co. Presents Haunting Performances Based on Susan Hill's Woman in Black In the sometimes spooky, mysterious Berkshire mountains, Shakespeare and Company is now presenting its annual Halloween Benefit -- a special two-week engagement that begins with an evening of ghost stories, haunted trails, hot apple cider, and chilling performances. Proceeds go towards educational programs as well as a capital campaign that will help establish the company's new home over the next few years. This year, Shakespeare and Co. presents The Woman in Black, a play that was adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the book by Susan Hill. Directed by Kevin G. Coleman, The Woman in Black is set in London and the remote village of Eel Marsh. The play's story line goes back and forth in time to accommodate the action of the play from the 1860’s to the 1920’s. When Mr. Kipps, a London-based lawyer, is sent by his firm to attend the funeral of one of its clients, Mrs. Drablow. His experiences while staying at Drablow’s estate are so horrific and evil that he hires a young actor to help him articulate the events to his family. Of course, Kipps gets much more than he bargained for when the “actor” arrives.
The Woman in Black will be presented in both the Wharton and Stables Theatres. Starting at the Wharton Theatre, Edith Wharton's intimate salon, the evening begins with an actor recounting one of many ghostly sightings witnessed at The Mount. Following this, Act I of The Woman in Black commences. Between acts, in Edith Wharton's dining room, the audience enjoys hot apple cider and cookies which takes the chill off before a trek up the “haunted” trail where the audience is visited by ghoulish apparitions who guide them to the Stables Theatre, where they interact with the actors and become part of the play before they take their seats for Act II.
Performances will run through Oct. 31. Limited seating is available, with the run already more than half sold. Tickets are $35 for all other performances. Call the box office at (413) 637-3353 for tickets, show times and information or visit www.shakespeare.org.
Nevermore Gives Life Afterlife to Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Revenge and Death
The New Actor's Workshop continues its run of Nevermore!, Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of revenge and death, adapted by Andrew Phelps. There are three more shows scheduled for the week of Halloween, Oct. 29 and 30 at 3 PM, and the Halloween Gala on Oct. 31 at 8 PM.
The extravaganza marks the 150th anniversary of Poe's death. The cast and director are drawn from graduates of The New Actor’s Workshop two-year professional training program.
All tickets are $12. For Reservations call (917) 246-0928 or for e-mail visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rocky Horror at Austin's Zach Theatre Thru Oct. 31
The Rocky Horror Show continues its run at Austin's Zachary Scott Theatre. Starring Austin actor Joe York at Dr. Frank N. Furter, the cult classic launched the theatre's 1999-2000 season with a spoof midnight horror and science fiction movies. Written by Richard O'Brien, the Rocky Horror Show premiered in London in 1973 and was adapted for the screen as "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in 1975. Known for its repeat viewers around the world, the film found a particularly strong following in Austin, where it has run longer than anywhere else in the world, according to production sources. Rocky plays at Zach's Whisehunt Arena Stage, 1510 Toomey Road. Tickets are $26 normally, but climb to $50 for the two special Halloween shows. Charge tickets by phone at (512) 476-0541 or visit www.zachscott.com.
NJ's McCarter Conducts Open House and Costume Sale Oct. 30
In connection with National Arts and Humanities Month, Princeton's McCarter Theatre will opens its doors and conduct an open house Oct. 30, 9 AM-1 PM. The theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton. Theatrical magic, backstage secrets, storytelling, a mask-making demonstration , a workshop in movement, and face painting will be among the attractions. For schedule, directions and ticket information call the McCarter Box Office at (609) 258-6524.
Magnuson Does Halloween Ditties Oct. 29 at NY's Joe's Pub
Singer-actress-performance artist Ann Magnuson will return on Oct. 29, to Joe's Pub, the bar and night spot enclosed within New York's Public Theater. The Halloween-themed show will feature "mournful mountain music, Halloween ditties and goth rock classics, with spine-tingling ghost stories from Magnuson's tortured dream journals." The show is at 8:30 PM, and will be netcast at midnight on www.Channelp.com, an art world internet site. For information, call (212) 239-6200.
Puttin' Edgar Allan Poe on in NJ through Oct. 31
Helen McKenna-Uff will present her one-woman show, Edgar and Helen: Two Lives, One Poet at the Ritz Theatre on White Horse Pike in Oaklyn, New Jersey, Oct. 31. McKenna-Uff's performance begins with a focus on Whitman, then a reading from Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." A Poe educator and park ranger at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia, McKenna-Uff will perform her show once only, Oct. 31 at 7:30 PM at the Ritz Theatre. Admission is $10. The Ritz also presents a Halloween show and costume party for pre-school and early grade students, through Oct. 30. The Puttin' on the Ritz Improvisational Children's Theatre Troupe has a kids program that includes a unique version of Beauty and the Beast which, together with the costume party theme, is designed to impart to the children the lesson that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Performances of Beauty are Oct. 30 at 10 AM and 1 PM. Reserved seats, admission is $5. For all Ritz programs, call the Ritz Hot Line at (856) 5230.
Miami Beach Monsters Opens Oct. 31 at Triad Theatre
Miami Beach Monsters is a new musical that suggests that the monsters from the horror movies filmed from the '30s to the '50s have actually settled together and formed a community of sorts in Miami Beach. It opens, coincidentally, Oct. 31 after a week of previews. Produced by RE Productions and featuring a cast of six, Monsters is directed and choreographed by Helen Butleroff. The cast features Laurie Gamache, Steve Elmore, Diane J. Findlay, Jimmy Spadola, Craig Mason and Richard Rowan. Music is by Michael Brown, Dick Gallagher, David Mette, Steven Silverstein and David Stricklan, with lyrics by Brown, Stephen Cole, Georgia Bogardus Holof and Ellen Schwartz. The open ended run includes Halloween shows. The Triad Theatre is located at 158 W. 72nd St. Tickets are $25 plus $10 food/drink minimum. For information and reservations call (212) 799 4599.
-- By Murdoch McBride