Dracula, the new Canadian musical that seduced summer audiences at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, closes its 52-show run Nov. 7, but there is still more life in the Bram Stoker-inspired tuner.
Lyricist-librettist-director Richard Ouzounian told Playbill On-Line Nov. 4 that the chamber musical, with music and orchestrations by Marek Norman, was videotaped Sept. 12 for a Nov. 16 broadcast on TVOntario. It airs nationally in Canada, on CBC, Dec. 16.
Selected PBS stations in the U.S., including those in Houston, Detroit, Minneapolis and Seattle, have purchased the broadcast rights.
Since opening June 2 at Stratford's proscenium Avon Theatre, Dracula has been seen by more than 70,000 people (about 80 percent of capacity), making it one of the most popular Canadian-written shows in Stratford history.
Motion Productions from Montreal, the forces behind the stage hit, Notre Dame De Paris, have purchased the French rights to Dracula, and are planning an August 2000 opening in Montreal. The author said the Stratford Festival is currently exploring the possibility of reviving Dracula in the future and perhaps putting it on a national tour in 2001.
The gothic Stoker source material has inspired other musical theatre writers. A musical called Possessed (by librettists Jason Darrow and Charles Marasco, lyricist Darrow and composer Carter Cathcart) has found regional life in the U.S., and a recording of it is on store shelves, and composer Frank Wildhorn (Broadway's The Civil War, The Scarlet Pimpernel) has said the fanged count is the center of a work-in progress by him.
On Oct. 18, a reading of yet another musical version was staged in Boston. That show, also called Dracula, is by Jay Gaither (music) and Owen Robertson (book and lyrics).
Ouzounian and Norman also penned the hugely popular family musical, Emily, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery's books, which played to sellout crowds at the Charlottetown Theatre Festival over the summer.
It returns to that Prince Edward Island musical theatre festival in summer 2000. A cast album and Canadian national tour are expected.
-- By Kenneth Jones