Fangs for the memory

Photo of Jim Marrinan, Gina Leonaggeo and Thomas DeVernier by Joanne Contreni

I really shouldn’t be so mean to the Twi-hards. They deserve to have their own not-terribly-literate brand of fun at their midnight premiere coming up in a couple of weeks. But I just find that it kind of sticks in my craw to have to trade in vampiredom’s seductive predators of yesteryear – take your pick of Bela Lugosi, Jonathan Frid, Frank Langella, Raul Julia, Gary Oldman – for the lightweight sparkly teen heartthrobs of contemporary cinema as manifested by the Twilight phenomenon. Bram Stoker is probably turning over in his grave, if he wasn’t already.

But there are some bits of good news on the horizon: Johnny Depp will revive the beloved character of Barnabas Collins in a movie version of the late-‘60s Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton and set for release in 2012. And for those vampire purists who left their hearts in Transylvania a long time ago, the undead Count himself will rise again beginning this Friday at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck – itself only recently risen from the floodwaters of Hurricane Irene.

Adapted by William McNulty and directed by Lisa Lynds, the production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the Center will star Thomas DeVernier as Count Dracula, Michael Prezioso as Jonathan Harker, Rachael White as Mina, John Adair as Dr. Van Helsing, Nicki Smith as Lucy, Thomas Webb as Dr. Seward and Nick Anthony in everybody’s favorite bug-eating, scenery-chewing role as the mad Renfield. Also in the cast are Jim Marrinan, Gina Leonaggeo, Kiki Sepp, Amanda Burton, Deborah Coconis, Michael Curtis, Ken Houghtaling, Morgan McKinley and Jim Canning. Elaine Miller will provide appropriate silent-movie atmosphere on piano.

Performances of Dracula begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays, November 4 through 13. Tickets go for $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and children. To order, visit or call the Center’s box office at (845) 876-3080 between 1 and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The venue is located at 661 Route 308, three miles east of the village center in Rhinebeck.


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