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Published: Thursday, 10/18/2007

'Dracula' at Croswell spooky but has biting humor

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It's getting to be that spooky season, and the Croswell Opera House is embracing that theme as Dracula opens tomorrow in Adrian's historic theater.

Adapted by Hamilton Deane and John Balderston from the horror novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula is a tale of vampires threatening Victorian London.

It all starts with Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Mackey), whose patient, Lucy Seward (Elizabeth Palmer), is suffering from a mysterious illness. Van Helsing suspects she has been bitten by a vampire, and Lucy's beau, Jonathan Harker (Brian Swain), sets out to investigate, leading him to Count Dracula (Pete Stewart).

Others in the cast, directed by G.L. Blanchard, are Ryan Burke, Lavina Flores, John MacNaughton, and Scotland Mills.

"It's a reunion of sorts," said director G.L. Blanchard "Peter [Mackey] and Pete [Stewart] worked together in Tuesdays with Morrie. This is quite a change for them."

Originally written in 1897, the novel was adapted for the stage in 1924 by Hamilton Deane. That stage version was revised in 1927 by John Balderston, who significantly altered the characters and settings of Stoker's novel, according to Blanchard.

"Mina, a main character in the book, is already dead and Lucy is Dr. Seward's daughter, not his ward," he explained. The action takes place in England, another change. "Dracula's already there when the play starts," and nobody has to go to Romania.

"There are also a lot of funny things in the show," Blanchard said, adding that youngsters 10 and up are likely to get a delightfully creepy feeling watching it.

To enhance the spooky proceedings, the Croswell is offering midnight tours of the generally unseen areas of the theater, complete with ghost stories, on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 27. The tours are free, but reservations must be made at the box office, and donations will be gratefully accepted.

"Dracula" is scheduled at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 28 in the Croswell Opera House, 129 East Maumee St., Adrian. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $18 for students, with discounts available for those sitting in the upper balcony. Information: 517-264-7469.

The Toledo Repertoire Theatre opens its EdgyRepReadings season Saturday with The Exonerated by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank.

The series presents scaled-down versions of plays that are outside the mainstream. Such works often deal with themes that are neither politically correct nor light-hearted, but they spark thought. This is the third year for the readings, which Rep players present in nontheatrical venues. The play by Jensen and Blank tells the stories of six wrongfully convicted death-row inmates. It is based on interviews, letters, and public records.

"The Exonerated" is scheduled at 8 p.m. Saturday in Trinity Episcopal Church at Adams and St. Clair streets. Tickets are $12. A pre-show reception starts at 7:30. Information: 419-243-9277.

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest opens tomorrow as a presentation of the Ritz Players of Tiffin.

Set in the 1890s, the comedy concerns Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, who invent alter egos to provide some spice to the rules and regulations of English society. When Jack falls for Algernon's cousin and Algernon falls for Jack's ward, misunderstandings - and hilarity - ensue. Directed by Dalva Church, the cast features Seth Innis as Algernon, Terry Love as Jack, Katherine Lipp as Gwendolyn, Hannah Christofer as Cecily, and Dianne Pytel as Lady Bracknell. Others in the cast are Dan Bell, Amy Berger, Caleb Christofer, and Bob Dougherty.

"The Importance of Being Earnest" is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, and Oct. 27 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Ritz Theatre, 30 South Washington St., Tiffin. Tickets are $11 for adults and $7 for students. Information: 419-448-8544.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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