George Hearn, Thora Birch and Michel Altieri to Star in Dracula Off-Broadway

News   George Hearn, Thora Birch and Michel Altieri to Star in Dracula Off-Broadway
Two-time Tony Award-winning actor George Hearn will star as vampire hunter Van Helsing in an Off-Broadway revival of the classic gothic horror Dracula, which will make a shadowy return Dec. 14 at the Little Shubert Theatre.

George Hearn
George Hearn

Paul Alexander, the artistic director of the Artists Theatre Group (which produces the run), will helm the production that also boasts film actress Thora Birch ("American Beauty," "Hocus Pocus") as doomed maiden Lucy Seward and Italian actor Michel Altieri in his American stage debut as the blood-thirsty count.  Altieri has been seen in the Italian premieres of Rent and Beauty and the Beast.

Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston's 1927 stage adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel will officially open Jan. 5, 2011, for a 13-week Off-Broadway run through March 13, 2011. The New York Times first reported news of the revival. The Times states that a Broadway transfer could be the goal.

The revival will also include Tony Award nominee Timothy Jerome as Dr. Seward, Jake Silbermann as Jonathan Harker, John Buffalo Mailer as Renfield, Emily Bridges as Miss Wells and Rob O'Hare as Butterworth. 

Dracula will forgo the iconic Tony Award-winning production designs by Edward Gorey. The Off-Broadway run will have set design by Dana Kenn, costumes by Willa Kim, lighting design byBrian Nason, sound design by Chris DelVecchio and special effects by Greg Meeh.

The Artists Theatre Group had originally announced an Off-Broadway revival of Dracula in 2009, which was slated to open at the Little Shubert in December of that year. Casting was not announced and the production never materialized. Last winter reports swirled around the theatre district of two separate revivals of Dracula, one on Broadway and another at the Little Shubert. One production was slated to feature Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham as Van Helsing, while Broadway producers were hoping to court Oscar-winning film star Javier Bardem as the Count.

The stage adaptation made its Broadway premiere on Oct. 5, 1927, at the Fulton Theatre with Bela Lugosi in the title role. Lugosi famously repeated his performance in the 1931 film. To coincide with the film, a Broadway revival of Dracula was staged in 1931 at the Royale Theatre with Courtney White as the star. A Tony-winning 1977 Broadway revival earned Frank Langella a Tony nomination for his work as the blood-thirsty count. Langella also starred in the 1979 film remake that co-starred Sir Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing, Donald Pleasance as Dr. Jack Seward and Kate Nelligan as Lucy Seward.

The Artists Theatre Group previously staged the Sylvia Plath-inspired play Edge and Gates of Gold Off-Broadway, as well as a developmental reading of Republic: A New Musical.

Dracula is produced by Bram Stoker's Dracula LLC, Tony Travis, Georgeand Dona Shipley, Ed Bankole, Megan Barnett, Leslie Evers, and Michael Alden.

For tickets, priced $89.50, phone (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge.

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