"Dracula" will visit high school

Musical TheaterTheaterEntertainmentEnglandCrimeCrime, Law and JusticeCount Dracula (fictional character)

Students in La Cañada High School’s theater department have been building their acting skills during rehearsals for the school’s third annual production of “Dracula.”

The limited engagement is set to run from on Feb. 27, Feb. 28 and March 1, with all three performances beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and the doors will open 10 minutes prior to curtain for open seating. All proceeds will help fund the all-school musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” set for performances June 2 - 5.

“Dracula” is La Cañada High School’s second repertory show done each year. A production of the Charles Dickens classic, “The Christmas Carol,” is the first. The ability to act in such a production is essential to an actor’s career, said Justin Eick, LCHS’ theater director.

“A repertory show in the professional community is done every year with a rotating cast of actors. Your job is to integrate into that existing production. It’s an extremely useful learning tool — you have to know how to do it,” said Eick.

There are several other aspects of “Dracula” that separate it from seven other plays the school will present this year.

First of all, the stage play was written by Eick with help from students he taught three years ago. Although it is an original play, there isn’t much deviation from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” novel, Eick said.

“Every line of dialogue is taken from Stoker’s original novel,” Eick said. “There is one major departure we make that is unique, though. We turned the novel into more of a proper murder mystery by keeping the play all in one setting, Dracula's castle. The original novel bounces back and forth between Transylvania and London.”

The play also incorporates material from a “Dracula” prequel Stoker wrote that wasn’t published until years after his death, Eick said.

“Dracula” first made its way into the La Cañada High theater department’s rotation of plays in an effort to integrate curriculum with the English department. English classes were reading the book, so Eick decided to put on a production of it to allow students to see the book acted out just a few feet from their classroom.

The production’s aesthetics are another highlight of the show. The authentic 19th-century costumes, special effects and set, which is more than 30 feet tall and inspired by medieval gothic architecture, are all professionally done, Eick said.

“The set is really intricate; it’s probably the coolest set our theater has,” said Doug Koerber, a sophomore at LCHS who is also playing the role of Jonathan Harker in “Dracula.”

Brandon Newquist and Cameron Christopher star in the production as Count Dracula young and old, respectively. Mateus De Faria will play Van Helsing in the show. Hannah Yoho, Jungmin Lee and Sonja Cwik will all help fill the role of the Bride of Dracula.

For more information on “Dracula” or other upcoming La Cañada High School productions, visit www.lacanadaplayhouse.org or call (818) 952-4200.

Info box:

WHERE: The La Cañada Playhouse at La Cañada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Drive

WHEN: Feb. 27, 28 and March 1 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:50 p.m.

TICKETS: $10 for open seating. Can be purchased in the lobby of the La Cañada Playhouse

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