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Mark Shanahan, Kristen Hahn, Boyd Gaines and More Set for 11/16 Reading of DRACULA at Westport Country Playhouse

Westport Country Playhouse will present a Script in Hand playreading of DRACULA, the mystery-thriller about a young woman falling victim to a vampire, on Monday, November 16, at 7 p.m. Director is Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist and curator of the playreading series. The play is dramatized by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, from the novel by Bram Stoker. Tickets are $20 each.

"Long before our latest obsession with vampires and zombies, there was Bram Stoker's terrifying novel," said Keefe. "I put off reading it for many years and when I finally did read it, I was astounded. I've now read four adaptations of the material for the stage, and discovered this script in an old, dusty anthology. This version was done in 1927 and is by far the least hokey and most scary. What makes it scary is that it in no way begs a laugh. Prepare to be scared!"

In DRACULA, Lucy Seward, whose father is the doctor in charge of an English sanatorium, has been attacked by some mysterious illness Dr. Van Helsing, a specialist from Holland, believes that the girl is the victim of a vampire. Coincidentally, Transylvanian Count Dracula has just moved into the mansion next door. Once the vampire has been discovered, it becomes a race against time to save Lucy from becoming one of Dracula's undead.

Cast members for DRACULA are: Matthew Amendt (Westport Country Playhouse's "Tartuffe," and Script in Hand playreadings of "Over the River and Through the Woods," "The Mousetrap," and "The Country Club"; Off-Broadway's "'Tis Pity She's a Whore") as John Harker; Boyd Gaines (Westport Country Playhouse's "The Good German"; winner of four Tony Awards for "Gypsy," "She Loves Me," "The Heidi Chronicles," "Contact") as Dr. Van Helsing; Ryan Garbayo (WCP's "Suddenly Last Summer"; New York's "Loot," "Unrequited," "Final Analysis," "The Time of Your Life") as Renfield; Jack Gilpin (WCP's "Hay Fever," "A Cheever Evening," "The Fourth Wall," "Lend Me a Tenor," 3 Script in Hand playreadings) as Dr. Seward; Kristen Hahn (Westport Country Playhouse's "Our Town"; Broadway's "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder") as Lucy Seward; Bethany Jillard (five seasons with Stratford Festival of Canada: "Othello," "Dangerous Liaisons," "Peter Pan") as Miss Wells; Aaron Krohn (title role in Westport Country Playhouse's "The Liar"; Broadway's "Cabaret," "The Farnsworth Invention," "The Coast of Utopia," "The Invention of Love") as Butterworth; and Mark Shanahan (Westport Country Playhouse's "Around the World in 80 Days," "Tryst," "Sedition," "David Copperfield," "Journey's End," 17 Script in Hand playreadings) as Count Dracula. All artists are subject to change.

Playwright Hamilton Deane's stage adaptation of Bram Stoker's DRACULA premiered in England in 1924. For its U.S. debut, DRACULA was rewritten by the American playwright John L. Balderston. The show ran for a year on Broadway and for two more years on tour. It is the Deane/Balderston interpretation upon which the classic Tod Browning film DRACULA (1931) with Bela Lugosi was based. Abraham "Bram" Stoker's novel, DRACULA, was published in 1897. The novel brought Stoker international acclaim and has since been adapted numerous times for the stage and the screen.

Director Anne Keefe served as artistic director of Westport Country Playhouse with Joanne Woodward in 2008, and as associate artistic director from 2000-2006, also with Ms. Woodward. She co-directed with Ms. Woodward the Westport Country Playhouse production of "David Copperfield," and directed many Script in Hand playreadings.

Script in Hand sponsors are Marc and Michele Flaster; Script in Hand partners are Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler. Script in Hand corporate sponsor is People's United Bank Wealth Management. The series is supported, in part, by the White Barn Program of the Lucille Lortel Foundation. "Dracula" is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.westportplayhouse.org or call the box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), and on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse).

The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater worth talking about and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus. The Playhouse creates this relationship with the community and provides this experience in multiple ways by offering: Live theater experiences of the highest quality from May to October; educational and community engagement events and opportunities to further explore issues presented by the work on stage; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand playreadings throughout the year to deepen relationships with audiences and artists alike; the renowned Woodward Internship Program training program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations from November through April to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round. The value of the Westport Country Playhouse to all it touches is immeasurable.


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