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East Lynne Theater Company to Present DRACULA


The quiet English countryside changed with the arrival of its newest neighbor, Count Dracula. Even Lucy Seward, the daughter of the psychiatrist in charge of the local sanitorium, is behaving strangely. Her mysterious oddities are noticed by Jonathan Harker, the man who loves her, and her father who sends for Dr. Van Helsing. Van Helsing believes Lucy might be a victim of a ghost that sucks blood at night from its victims.

The award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company is proud to present "Dracula" from July 27 through September 3. Based on Bram Stoker's famous gothic novel, this adaptation is by John L. Balderston and Hamilton Deane. Deane's version opened in London in 1924, but before it's Broadway opening in 1927, American John L. Balderston was hired to revise it. It ran for a year in New York, and two more years on the road, breaking all records for any show on tour in the United States.

Bela Lugosi played the title role on stage and in the 1931 film. Frank Langella followed suit on Broadway in 1977, and starred in the 1979 film.

Playing the title role in Dracula, is Samuel Douglas Clark who was in ELTC's "Huckleberry Finn" and "The First Fifty Years." NY theater credits include "The Club" and "Village Voices," and he appeared in ABC's "Forever." In his native Australia, he performed in national tours, films, on television.

Portraying Van Helsing is another actor who's performed with ELTC, James Rana. Last season, he was in "Strictly Dishonorable," and ELTC produced his adaptation of "Huckleberry Finn." He's had roles in TV and films and has performed with theaters in this country and in Europe, including Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (UK).

Three others in the cast have also trod the boards at ELTC: Thomas Raniszewski, Evan Smilyk, and Robert LeMaire.

Last spring, Thomas, portraying Dr. Seward, was in the world premier of "Dying Like Ignacio" in New York, and is featured in Rachel Handler's film "Disabilidates" which premiered at the Hollyshorts Film Festival in Hollywood in 2015. He's been performing with ELTC since 2005.

This marks Evan's third appearance on ELTC's main stage. Last year, he played the title role in "Huckleberry Finn" and this year, he plays Renfield. For several years he performed in ELTC's Summer Theater Workshop, and was recently in "Drowsy Chaperone" at Lower Township High School.

Robert, who plays Butterworth, has been working the sound effects and playing roles in ELTC's radio-style productions for ten years. He performed in "The Dictator" and other ELTC shows, and has directed for the Ocean City High School Drama Guild.

New to ELTC are Rachel Holt, Matthew Lindsay Payne, and Tara Reuter.

Rachel, portraying Lucy, works in commercials, films and TV. Credits include "The Alchemist" at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C., "Da" at the Olney (MD), "Fahrenheit 451" at Round House Theatre Company (MD) and "An Ideal Husband" at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Playing Jonathan Harker, is Matthew, who recently trained at the Moscow Art Theatre's Summer Stanislavsky School. Credits include "The Trap" at the Ambassador Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and "Hamlet" and "Thirteen Dead Husbands" at Cohesion Theater Company in Baltimore.

Tara, playing Miss Wells, has performed in a variety of productions including "Arsenic and Old Lace" at The Heights Players in Brooklyn, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Valley Shakespeare Festival (CT), and "Love, Sex, and the IRS" at The Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.

ELTC's artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, directed and designed the set for "Dracula."

On opening night, Wednesday, July 27, at no additional cost, there is an after-show opening night party at Pier House Restaurant, 1317 Beach Avenue, with complimentary hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and the opportunity to meet the performers and creative team. On Friday, August 5, is an after-show talk-back, and on Friday, August 26 is an American Sign Language Interpreted performance.

"Dracula" runs four nights a week, Wednesdays through Saturdays, at 8:30 p.m. at the historic First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May. Tickets are $32; $27 for seniors; $17 for students and those in the military or a veteran. Age 12 and under are free. Meanwhile, the musical revue, "Rodgers" Romance" runs through July 23. For more information and to make a reservation, call 609-884-5898 or go online to

The show sponsor for "Dracula" is La Mer Beachfront Inn. Without such sponsorships, East Lynne's production season would not be possible. Season sponsors are Curran Investment Management, Aleathea's Restaurant, The Henry Sawyer Inn, The Washington Inn, and funding is also received from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism; New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and many generous patrons.

Photo by Gayle Stahlhuth

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