Forget the glittery, angsty vampires of Twilight and the naked and charming Southern bloodsuckers on HBO’s True Blood—Burlington County Footlighters is bringing you the original this Halloween season.
The Footlighters production of Dracula premieres next weekend, and it’s shaping up to be a show unlike any other, according to director Gabrielle Affleck.
“I don’t think they’ve done anything this technically involved,” said Affleck, who described the original sound effects (courtesy of technical director Bob Beaucheane), “amazing” set design (courtesy of Jim Frazer), and impressive visual effects—fog, “onstage staking of vampires, with blood effects”—that will make this one of Footlighters’ most special shows.
A confessed horror and thriller nut, Affleck, who sits on the Footlighters board, has previously directed frightening shows like Wait Until Dark and The Bad Seed for other theater groups, but this is her first time directing for Footlighters.
Though she never had a particular affinity for the vampire genre, Affleck said she thought Dracula would be an exciting show for the theater group to perform—and she was right.
“Everybody’s pretty excited. They were ready to sink their teeth into it,” she said with a laugh.
The version of Dracula the group will be putting on is based on William McNulty’s stage adaptation, which in turn is based on another adaptation, which is based on the original novel by Bram Stoker.
Speaking of Stoker, not only did Footlighters intentionally time Dracula to premiere around the Halloween season, the show also coincides with the famous author’s birthday—Nov. 8. As a tribute to Stoker, the theater company will host a birthday party following the Nov. 8 performance, complete with a vampire costume contest (presumably the actors will not be allowed to compete).
Affleck said the show stays mostly true to the original story, but takes a few liberties with certain characters and their fates.
Ideally, she said, the show will attract audience members who don’t typically attend community theater, “and they might get hooked.”
“Particularly for people who go to community theater, it’s going to be a wilder ride than they’re used to,” she added.
The show premieres at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, and runs through Nov. 16, with 8 p.m. shows each Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. shows on Sunday.
Tickets are $18. For reservations or additional information, call 856-829-7144 or visit www.bcfootlighters.com.The Footlighters’ Playhouse is located at 808 Pomona Road in Cinnaminson.