Improv Playhouse to perform 'Dracula' in radio show format

  • David Stuart as Van Helsing, the vampire slayer, in Improv Playhouse's staged radio drama of "Dracula."

    David Stuart as Van Helsing, the vampire slayer, in Improv Playhouse's staged radio drama of "Dracula." Courtesy of Improv Playhouse

 
Submitted by Improv Playhouse
Posted10/21/2019 9:18 AM

Improv Playhouse will be performing Bram Stoker's classic novel "Dracula" as a staged radio drama using the original 1938 Orson Welles' script Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26.

David Stuart, executive producer at IP and the director of "Dracula," is excited about this adaptation, which he and many others claim is "by far the closest to the original novel. The little-known, hourlong radio drama adaptation aired on July 11, 1938, mere months before his (in)famous 1938 radio broadcast of 'War of the Worlds,' which we produced two years ago around the same time."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Many people do not realize that Welles was only 23 years old when he and his Mercury Theater company were invited by Columbia Broadcasting to do a series of theatrical performances for radio.

"These were mostly adaptations of classic works of literature into hourlong radio plays," Stuart said. "The first of these was the Mercury Theater on the Air's performance of this piece. Very cool stuff!"

Improv Playhouse will also be creating a festive environment with treats and other fun surprises during the performances.

"It is going to be a night of just plain, clean fun," Stuart said. "Unlike Welles, who also played the role of Dracula in the original production, I, rather, will be playing Van Helsing ... I enjoy the Dutch-German dialect and am sitting in for Egon Schein, who had a conflict for this production."

Fox River Grove resident and regional stage actor Steven Pickering will be playing the evil Count.

Stuart's fellow SAG-AFTRA union member and Lake Zurich resident Mia Hirschel will direct and play Mina. The rest of the cast includes another SAG actor, George Elliott from Hainesville, Egon Schein of Libertyville, Susan Kries of Vernon Hills and Rockford-Chicago native Adam Mizner.

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"We stage the drama much like those recorded in front of a live audience. We'll have some performed and recorded sound effects. The story is presented in the form of diary readings and newspaper clippings, much as in the book," Stuart said.

"Much of the dialogue is straight from the original, Dracula's in particular. Steve manages a sinister performance as the count, with accented voice fully conveying Dracula's dark majesty and malevolence.

"One gets the impression that Welles takes an almost palpable delight in leaving his audience guessing until the very end," Stuart said. "And far be it from me to spoil such a masterful creation."

Performance times are 8 p.m. Oct. 25 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26. Tickets are $12.50 for adults, $5 for students in advance, or $20/$7.50 at the door. Come in a costume for a $2 discount (at the door only).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For ticket orders, visit www.improvplayhouse.com or call (847) 968-4529.

Improv Playhouse Theater is at 735 N. Milwaukee, Libertyville.

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