Very quickly (it's past my bedtime), I attended TheatreVCU's production of Dracula this evening, written by Steven Dietz, directed by Barry Bell, and produced by David Leong. It was an exciting, impressive and creepy ride.
I especially appreciated the five leading men: Brandon Crowder as Dracula, Joe Carlson as Renfield, Joseph Sultani as Seward, Landon Nagel as Van Helsing, and Andrew Donnelly as Harker. All five inhabited their characters with distinct personalities and histrionic expertise, creating some heart-pounding suspense.
Of the five, Landon Nagel is the Barksdale vet, having played the minister and other roles in The Full Monty a couple summers ago.
Ron Keller's set, Toni-Leslie James's costumes, Mike Mauren's lights, and especially Thomas Vecchione's sound were all chill inducing. Ron Keller is another Barksdale and Theatre IV vet, having designed The Laramie Project and supervised the designs of countless other shows at Willow Lawn, including our upcoming productions of Doubt and The Little Dog Laughed.
The two leading ladies, Jaci Camden and Marie Weigle, spent most of the show as young lovelies, but became more interesting after becoming "unclean." Barry Bell staged it all with style, classical titillation, and a fun sense of the unexpected.
More than half the seats were empty this evening, which is a terrible shame. Students can attend for only $7 (adults are something like $18). This evening was further proof that even when exciting theatre is presented super-cheap in their own backyard, it's really difficult to convince the majority of university students to come to the theatre.
The last two performances will be tomorrow evening (Friday) at 7:30, and, if you want to be really creepy, Saturday evening at MMIIDDNNIIGGHHTT - AHH HHAA HHAA!! (That's me using my deep Transylvania voice with lots of reverb.)
Anyway, for an eerie good time, you won't go wrong with this new edition of Dracula. The VCU theatre department is full of talent. And you can't beat the price.