John Wulp, Theatre Designer, Director, and Producer, Dies at 90

Obituaries   John Wulp, Theatre Designer, Director, and Producer, Dies at 90
His enduring 1977 Broadway production of Dracula, designed by illustrator Edward Gorey, earned a Special Tony Award in 1978.
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John Wulp Matt Cosby

John Wulp, a director, playwright, producer, and prolific theatre designer who brought the Edward Gorey-designed revival of Dracula to Broadway in 1977, died in Rockport, Maine, November 27. He was 90 years old.

Known for his stark and sinister illustrations, Gorey was one of Wulp’s frequent collaborators. Together they created the visually arresting production of Bram Stoker’s classic tale, which began life at Nantucket Stage Company. The production received a Special Tony Award in 1978 for Most Innovative Production of a Revival. Frank Langella earned his second Tony Award for his work in the title role. Dracula transferred to Broadway in fall 1978, eventually closing January 6, 1980.

Born in 1928 in New Rochelle, New York, Wulp graduated from Dartmouth College in 1950 and attended the Yale School of Drama. A play he had written during his service in the Marines was optioned for Off-Broadway, and earned him a Rockefeller Grant for Playwriting.

After moving to Nantucket in 1963, Wulp founded the Nantucket Stage Company in 1973, producing John Guare’s Marco Polo Sings a Solo as well as Dracula. After the success of Dracula, Wulp returned to New York and earned a Drama Desk Award and Tony nomination for designing The Crucifier of Blood in 1979, later helping found helped found New York University’s Playwrights Horizons Theatre School.

A memorial celebration for Wulp will take place on Vinalhaven, Maine, in summer 2019.