For those who are counting, Count Dracula will sing in no less than three different musical versions of the gothic novel by Bram Stoker on American stages in 2002.
The latest Dracula to surface beyond the already announced 2002 Broadway and North Shore Music Theatre productions is the world premiere, Dracula, Game of Love, to be produced Feb. 21-March 3, 2002, at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The show was planned months ago, before Frank Wildhorn, Christopher Hampton and Don Black's Dracula was announced for Broadway, and before the decision by NSMT to stage a Canadian-created musical, Dracula, a Chamber Musical, both in fall 2002.
Dracula, Game of Love, is a rare world premiere for the prestigious College Conservatory of Music.
The adaptation of the 1897 Bram Stoker vampire-horror romance novel features music by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by Michael Lazar and Oberacker. The writers, alums of CCM, will also see the world premiere of The Gospel According to Fishman at the Signature Theatre in Arlington VA, Jan. 8-Feb. 24, 2002.
Direction of Dracula, Game of Love, is by Aubrey Berg, head of the musical theatre program; choreography is by Diane Lala and musical direction is by Roger Grodsky. The musical will be presented in the renovated Patricia Corbett Theater in Cincinnati, OH.
Designers include Paul R. Short (set) and Dean Mogle (costumes).
The 30-actor show is said to follow the novel closely and focuses on the emotional and sexual awakening of Mina Murray, the Count's object of desire. Angela Gaylor (North Shore Music Theatre's Julie Jordan in Carousel) plays Mina in a cast made up of conservatory students. Dracula is played by John Andrew Clark, Jonathan is played by Jason Patrick Sands, Renfield is Barry James, Lucy is Annie Leri, with Blake Ginther and Will Ray rounding out the principals. The piece is constructed in classic "book musical" form and features a score based heavily in the late-romantic style of the story's late 19th century period — lush, sophisticated, melodic. The authors began writing the show in 1993 and completed a fully orchestrated demo recording in 1995, featuring Alice Ripley, Lauren Kennedy and Merwyn Foard.
The Cincinnati College-Conservatory's list of distinguished alumni includes such musical theatre pros as composer Stephen Flaherty, Faith Prince, Marcia Lewis, Lee Roy Reams, Michelle Pawk, Vicki Lewis, Matt Bogart, Jessica Boevers, Lauren Kennedy and more. Visit CCM at http://www.ccm.uc.edu/musical_theatre.
According to the CCM website, the 400-seat Patricia Corbett Theatre features a modified thrust stage with a 42-foot proscenium arch. Designed by Ming Cho Lee, this theatre has a Bayreuth-style pit and steeply raked seating that creates an intimate relationship between actor and audience. In this space, the musical theatre program performs musicals ranging from the standard repertoire to new works, from "classic" musicals to rock pieces. Past productions in the Patricia Corbett Theatre include Cabaret, Chess, The Baker's Wife, Little Me, Hair, The Hot Mikado, Assassins, Man of LaMancha, Chicago, Grand Hotel and Passion. The Patricia Corbett Theatre is also home to CCM's award winning summer series Hot Summer Nights which presents three musicals in rotating repertory each year.
Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, will stage the world premiere of Oberacker and Lazar's new musical, The Gospel According to Fishman, starring E. Faye Butler and directed by Signature artistic director Eric Schaeffer, Jan. 8-Feb. 24, 2002. The Gospel According to Fishman, tells the story of Alan Fishman, a young Jewish composer from Brooklyn writing spiritual music for a black gospel choir led in voice and spirit by Nehi Taylor (to be played in Virginia by Helen Hayes Award nominee Butler). "Searching for his own voice while struggling with an interracial love affair during the height of the civil rights movement, Fishman follows the choir to Birmingham, AL, to protest the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church," according to the Signature announcement. "Standing at one of the most explosive turning points in history, Fishman is forced to decide what he believes and where he belongs."
— By Kenneth Jones