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Thespian Thoughts – Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” by the Kentwood Players is entertaining and chilling.

Thespian Thoughts – Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” by the Kentwood Players is entertaining and chilling.

Episode: 18

Host: Erica Mer

 
 

Title: “Dracula”

An eerie mood is created through stage lighting and the audience is transported into Dracula’s world. The creepy music also contributes a great deal of mystery to the play. From time to time, I could hear members of the audience shriek from such spookiness.
– Erica Mer – ActorsEntertainment.com

 

Hi, I’m Erica Mer from Actors Entertainment, welcome to Thespian Thoughts, for reviews of the best of small theater. I had the pleasure of enjoying the entertaining and chilling version of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” by the Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester, California. The vampire play is dramatized by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. The Westchester Playhouse is a perfect example of community-supported theater. The time and effort put into the production of “Dracula” was commendable. Director Shawn K. Summerer puts his own twist on Stoker’s version, while he still captures the tone that brings audiences back to the timeless story.
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Vampires capture our imagination throughout history. Recently, hit movies such as Twilight and television shows such as True Blood entice audiences with its dark and bloody stories. Kudos to this illuminating community production who steps back from the mainstream vampires and tells the classic tale of “Dracula.” During the play, blood and gore was visually spared, which positively broadened the audience’s imagination.

An eerie mood is created through stage lighting and the audience is transported into Dracula’s world. The creepy music also contributes a great deal of mystery to the play. From time to time, I could hear members of the audience shriek from such spookiness.

While this version of “Dracula” is tame, it is suitable for a mature audience. The story is both dark and complex and some younger audiences might not understand. I think it is very important for people to support a local community based play. Every body that helped put the play together, worked extremely hard and should be recognized.
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“Dracula” plays Fridays through Sundays until October 16th. For more details, please visit Kentwood Players.

 

I’m Erica Mer, with Actors Entertainment. Thank you for joining me on Thespian Thoughts. Remember, all the worlds a stage. See you next time!

 

Dracula
By Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston

 

Cast:
Samantha Barrios (Lucy)
MarLee Candell (Miss Wells)
Paul Guay (Renfield)
Ben Lupejkis (Van Helsing)
Ken MacFarlane (Seward)
Daniele Manzin (Harker)
Jeffrey Olin (Butterworth)
Rick Galiher (Dracula)

 

Crew:
Shawn K. Summerer (Director)
Alison Mattiza (Producer)
Elizabeth Bouton-Summerer (Produer)
Tony Pereslete (Set Design)
Robert Davis (Lighting Design)
Sheridan Cole Crawford (Costume Design)
Jon Sparks (Costume Design)

 

 

Kentwood Players “DRACULA” receives additional critical praise:

 

Shawn K. Summerer’s direction, Tony Pereslete’s set and Robert Davis’ lighting combine to create an eerie atmosphere. Galiher is enjoyable in the iconic role. A smooth talker with a knowing glance, he is able to be a kindly older gentleman one moment and a powerful and nasty villain the next. The wild-eyed Guay injects some humor and oddness into the early proceedings, and the first-act climax, thanks to one of the evening’s impressive special effects, is legitimately shocking.
– Jeff Favre, The Daily Breeze

 

Summerer, making his directorial debut at Kentwood, creates a very professionally-crafted production with his blending of music, lighting and special effects. The play’s major figure, the blood-sucking Count Dracula, is given a vibrant, compelling, performance by Galiher. He has a larger-than-life stage presence and is perfectly cast, as are all the other cast members.
– Steven Lieberman – The Culver City Observer

 

Summerer brings a strong theatre background of directing and acting. He also has a film background which is apparent in his innovative use of lighting and music which brings a cinematic, dramatic and more realistic approach to this production. “Dracula” is a campy, entertaining take on the novel that your child can actually enjoy. Kentwood has successfully blended a good cast, an innovative director, and effective use of set to provide an enjoyable and entertaining experience.
– Alex Schildkret – Santa Clarita Valley Independent

 

Vampires and their ilk have made yet another comeback in recent times. This version is more serious and dramatic with a touch of mystery added; More thrills and drama involved than actual scares!
– Rich Borowy – ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE

 

I was very impressed with this production. The pace was lively, the plot engaging, with enough twists and turns to keep any viewer engaged. Particularly entertaining was the Dom DeLuise-like character of Jeffrey Olin who plays the bumbling attendant, Mr. Butterworth. Also notable was Paul Guay, as the wailing Renfield, whose screams always sent chills down my spine.
– Mary McGrath – Examiner.com

 

 

Thespian Thoughts is on Actors Entertainment, a site of the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.

 

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