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Dragula: a New Musical

By Jennifer Fried

After a sunny spring afternoon with beer, wine and nachos three girlfriends and I had the delight of previewing the musical Dragula, directed by Kirk Gostkowski and written by John Arthur Long and Theodore Kastrinos. The initial read through of the musical was fantastically hilarious, entertaining, and still made a statement about who may be truly different in a heterosexual, Christian dominated world.

The Reverend Bobby Swagger (David J. Baldwin) moves into town, fresh from Intercourse Pennsylvania, and makes it his mission to reform Dragula (Justin Randolph), a club owner who dances in drag every night. Dragula finds himself in conflict with his boyfriend and sister Rachel (Alexandra Kopko) for his emotional unavailability. The cast rounds off with the Reverend's sidekick Tammy Twingle (Christina Perry), who does an excellent job skirting the line between overtly sexual and proper southern Christian. My favorite set of characters had to be the chorus of three bitches who make juice drinks, the sort similar to the ones for which you pay $10 at the Bedford L stop.

The cast's acting and singing skills kept the audience enamored through the nearly two and a half hour script. I imagine that the writers will have to do some editing before they take the musical to a larger stage. However, the wit in the script kept the audience on its toes. My favorite line had to be when Dragula states "Women: can't live with them, can't live without dressing like them."

The show successfully leaves the audience contemplating who the outsider is and who needs to be reformed as the conflict between Dragula and the Reverend Swagger unfolds on stage. This theme fits the concept of the play. Dragula was conceived after Mr. Long and Mr. Kastrinos read an article about an innocent victim beaten to death for living an alternative lifestyle.

Even in its early stage, the musical is delightful-I hardly noticed that the musical was still a read through. The dance team--Ashley Carter, Vanessa Martinez de Baños, Ariel Miasnik and Kaityln Pollock--from DoubleTake Dance Company spiced up the stage both in red and black drac(g)ula costumes. I look forward to seeing the musical further developed with customs, dance and an edited script.

Photo credit: Chris Polanish

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From This Author Jennifer Fried

Jennifer Fried originally from Northern California received her BA in Classical Languages and Literature in 2012 from New York University. After attending New York University (read more...)