DRACULA THE MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton
Music by Frank Wildhorn
Garland Civic Theatre
Director – Kyle McClaran
Music Director – Jeanie Adamson
Stage Manager – Brandy Nuttall
Set and Costume Design – Kyle McClaran
Sound Design – Kyle McClaran and Jodi Kopaniky
Light Design – Kelly Gray
Jonathan Harker: Evan Figg
Count Dracula: Joshua Hensley
Mina Murray: Stephanie Hall-Robertson
Renfield: Brandy Nuttall
Dr. Jack Seward: Russell Sims
Lucy Westerna: Maya Ferrer
Quincey Morris: Jacob Drum
Arthur Holmwood: Brian Hokanson
Professor Van Helsing: Timothy Turner-Parrish
Lucretia, a Bride of Dracula/Nurse Three: Hannah Meagley
Pandora, a Bride of Dracula/Nurse Two: Samantha Masucci
Belladonna, a Bride of Dracula/Matron/Nurse One: Brandy Townsend
Reviewed Performance: 10/20/2017
Reviewed by Jeri Tellez, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Dracula The Musical is a bold re-telling of the well-known Bram Stoker novel, set to the music of the team who brought us Jekyll & Hyde. The music is darkly intriguing, and I found myself enjoying the soundtrack for the rest of the weekend.
Kyle McClaran has done an excellent job bringing together the cast, crew and designers, this production is gripping and beautifully morbid. His costume designs are exquisite, and the set was incredible. The attention to detail evident in both discloses a great amount of time and effort on the part of everyone who contributed to this fantastic show.
As Count Dracula, Joshua Hensley was superb. He added a human touch to the titular undead villain, slipping on and off stage with effortless stealth. His character was sympathetic yet evil, and displayed a vulnerability that belied his immortal powers. Hensley's singing was...divine.
Mina Murray, the tragic heroine, was brought to life nicely by Stephanie Hall-Robertson. She displayed a depth of emotion that revealed Mina's battle to remain faithful to her fiancé/husband in the face of Dracula's irresistible pull on her psyche. At times her singing seemed a bit off pitch, but that could have been a design choice. If so, it was one that I would not have kept.
Jonathan Harker, portrayed by Evan Figg, was excellent as the heroic lover battling to save his wife from the forces of darkness. He spoke volumes with facial expressions and small gestures, being careful not to upstage the main action, and his solos were well done. I wasn't a big fan of the wig he wore at the beginning of the show, but it did serve its intended purpose.
Maya Ferrer brought Lucy Westerna to life and beyond very well. She made her character transitions with ease, and had a beautiful singing voice. I was especially fond of her combination of headwear and hair, and she played off the other characters pleasantly.
Dr. Jack Seward, Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood, played by Russell Sims, Jacob Drum and Brian Hokanson respectively, were a well-rounded trio who somehow worked well together in spite of their varied backgrounds and the fact that all three proposed marriage to Lucy. I particularly enjoyed their quartet with Professor Van Helsing (Timothy Turner-Parrish) in Deep in the Darkest Night. Turner-Parrish was a joy to watch, being both animated and convincing as the vampire hunter. All four men had nice voices that blended well together.
Brandy Nuttall did an admirable job as Renfield, displaying a burdensome knowledge beneath the apparent psychotic behavior of Dracula's minion. Casting a woman in this traditional male role might have worked if the character had been changed to female, but her voice (as nice as it was) and obvious female assets made her barely believable as a man. She did play crazy well, which may or may not be a good thing.
Dracula's brides, played by Hannah Meagley, Samantha Masucci and Brandy Townsend, were wonderfully cringe worthy. They delivered their messages well, considering their dearth of understandable lines, and complimented each other favorably.
Jeanie Adamson did a marvelous job both leading the cast musically, and producing a full and balanced sound with only two orchestra members. It was obvious that she had emphasized diction on the more wordy sections of the music, as it was easy to understand.
The sound designed by McClaran and Jodi Kopaniky was perfect for the setting. The ambient noise was noticeable but not overbearing, and helped maintain the eerie feeling of the entire show. It was unfortunate that the microphones were turned up high enough that the sound was a bit distorted. Perhaps that will be fixed before the end of the run.
Kelly Gray's lighting design was commendable. It shaped the scenes, guided the audience's attention, and brought the entire show into another realm. The moon was praiseworthy by itself, but was by no means the only impressive element to the lighting. I am not normally one drawn to the macabre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation. The cast, music, costumes, set, lighting and sound effects all came together in one magnificent display of artistry. I highly recommend making time to visit the Garland Civic Theatre to celebrate their 50th anniversary season by enjoying this production.
Dracula The Musical runs through November 11 at Garland Civic Theatre.
For more information go to http://www.garlandcivictheatre.org. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.garlandartsboxoffice.com.