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SRRHS to stage 'Dracula' musical

Sedona Red Rock News of Sedona, Arizona

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Of all the ways you may have seen Dracula portrayed in literature, theatre, film and music, it's unlikely you've ever seen him accompanied by a troupe of bat-dancers — much less a six-piece rock band performing Billy Idol's 1982 gothic-pop hit "White Wedding."

"This very straight, serious play has laughter, dance, music and pageantry — it's just all come together that way," Sedona Red Rock High School Performing Arts Director Martha Edwards said of her production of Dracula set to premier Thursday, Nov. 12. "We're approaching it from a melodramatic and a bit avant-garde place.

"There's going to be a lot of art on stage, not just acting.... I feel very proud of everything that's going into it."

Based off of the same 1927 script that made Bela Lugosi synonymous with Dracula — and which features a lot of semi-archaic language that Edwards admitted she had to work around — the production boasts eight principal roles, characters recognizable to audiences with one or two slight modifications.

"We have a lack of boys right now," senior Ella Featherstone said. "We had to edit a lot."

The famed doctor and vampire hunter Van Helsing has been gender-swapped into Featherstone's Yvonne Helsing — a move that allowed Edwards to alter the character's traditionally adversarial role with the vampire count into a more complicated romantic relationship.

The innovations were matched by an enthusiastic energy during rehearsals Friday, Oct. 30. Edwards jumped from place to place, smile fixed as her actors' traded lines in fake English accents. Junior Skylar Okie's take on Renfield — Dracula's spider-eating plaything — was notable for its frantic pathos.

Asked if he had prepared for the role with an arachnid-based diet, Okie took a break from his intensely loud performance and nodded seriously. "I have, yeah."

"He's a method actor," joked senior Chance Pollard, the production's titular lead.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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