Actors' NET to Stage Steven Dietz's DRACULA, 1/18-2/10

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Actors' NET to Stage Steven Dietz's DRACULA, 1/18-2/10

"Dracula! The very name conjures up images of horror." So explained Actors' NET of Bucks County Artistic Director Cheryl Doyle in announcing the company's next offering at the intimate Heritage Center in Morrisville. Running January 18 - February 10, the Steven Dietz adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic The NET has unearthed has excited Ms. Doyle's enthusiasm.

"Most are familiar with the melodramatic version popularized onstage and film by Bela Lugosi," she said. "While shocking in its day, that script is tame and campy by today's standards. We've spent years looking for a version that more closely adheres to the mood of Stoker's horrific tale. We found Dietz' adaptation at the perfect time. Doylestown-based actor DeLarme Landes, who plays Dracula had just joined our company and we knew at once we had the perfect actor for the right script."

"Dracula is by far our most ambitious staging to date," she observed. "The script takes a cinematic approach - the action moving from one scene to the next at the speed of a bat's wing. Our goal is to present this tale in a way that will make today's audiences gasp in surprise and amazement."

"While a strong title character is essential, an equally strong ensemble cast is key," Ms. Doyle noted, "and we've assembled a veteran cast to deliver the goods."

Ken Ammerman of Morrisville portrays Renfield, a bug-eating lunatic in the insane asylum run by Dr. John Seward (John Helmke of Hamilton, NJ); the pivotal character presents the show's prologue and epilogue. John Pinto of Yardley plays vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, called by Seward to investigate a mysterious illness that has befallen the doctor's ladylove, Lucy Westenra - played by Cat Miller of Bristol. The strange ailment is causing an unexplained loss of blood - unexplained, that is, until Van Helsing spies bite marks on Lucy's neck.

Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski of Langhorne plays Mina Murray, Lucy's close friend, whose fiancé, Jonathan Harker, has been in the Carpathian mountains of Transylvania to close a land deal with Count Dracula. Chris Capitolo of Glenside portrays Harker.

The Count and his vixens (Kathryn Skelly of Bordentown, NJ and Jaci D'Ulisse of Trenton) take control of Harker's mind, imprisoning him there. Dracula makes his way to London in search of fresh blood, but Harker escapes and returns there as well, bringing with him his journal, in which he entered all the strange goings-on. The journal helps Van Helsing plan his attack on Dracula in a blood- curdling race against time.

Dracula performs weekends January 18 - February 10, at the Heritage Center, 635 N. Delmorr Avenue (Route 32), Morrisville, PA - near the Calhoun Street Bridge. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for children age 12 and under. The NET has rated this production PG-13. For reservations, call the nonprofit Actors' NET at 215-295-3694 3694 or email actorsnet@aol.com. On-line tickets can be purchased via www.brownpapertickets.com. The company's website is www.actorsnetbucks.org. Social networking: Facebook page - "ActorsNET, AKA Actors' NET of Bucks County" and Twitter name @actorsnet.

Pictured: Dracula (DeLarme Lands) claims a beautiful victim (Cat Miller).

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