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‘Dracula’ rises again

Article Published: Oct. 25, 2012 | Modified: Oct. 28, 2012
‘Dracula’ rises again

The cast of the Ensemble Stage production of ‘Dracula’ rehearses at the Blowing Rock School

Photo by Jeff Eason

Performing a staged radio drama from the golden age of radio has become something of a Halloween tradition for Ensemble Stage.

After successful performances of “War of the Worlds,” the production company switched last autumn to one of Orson Welles’ other radio dramas, “Dracula.”

Ensemble Stage will reprise its production of “Dracula” on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27, at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Performances are at 7 p.m. each evening, and tickets are on sale now.

Mercury Theater’s original radio production of “Dracula” was aired in the 1930s. Ensemble Stage will recreate the drama, complete with all of the eerie sound effects. The script has been slightly modified, so that the action takes place in the 1930s setting of Mayview Manor in Blowing Rock.

The cast of “Dracula” includes Jon Greene, Dan Greenfield, Charles Hardin, Lauren Hayworth, Ali Maupin, Maureen Renihan Klinedinst, Susanna Russell, Genie Starnes, Mark Suggs and Mark Woodard. It features Derek Gagnier as Orson Welles and Buzz Berry as Dracula.

Gary Smith is the director and Lisa Lamont the production manager for the show.

For Gagnier, this is his fifth time portraying writer, director and actor Orson Welles.

“It’s funny because Orson Welles wrote and performed Dracula when he was 25 years old, and I am about twice as old as that now,” Gagnier said. “Now that I’ve lived with the guy, it’s more fun because I find new stuff to build on top of what I have done before. The best thing is finding out what you left out the year before and filling in the details.”

The youngest member of the cast is Maupin, a sophomore at Watauga High School.

“I play Vampress No. 1 and perform a lot of the sound effects,” Maupin said. “My favorite sound effect is making the sound of a flapping bat by flapping open an umbrella.”

Director Smith indicated that this year’s production of the radio stage drama “Dracula” will be much more theatrical than last year.

“We have added a lot of new sound effects, plus we’ve got more costumes and special lighting that we didn’t utilize last year,” he said.

This year’s production of “Dracula” will be recorded and then played over the radio on WATA-AM 1450 at 6 p.m. on Halloween night.

Tickets for “Dracula” are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors, kids and military personnel. For more information, call Ensemble Stage at (828) 414-1844. The Blowing Rock School Auditorium is located off Sunset Drive in downtown Blowing Rock.

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