Ben Stevenson's Dracula returns to Tulsa for another bite!
Sep 25, 2012 in 12-13 Season Releases
TULSA, Okla. – September 25, 2012 – From October 26 – 28, 2012, Tulsa Ballet presents the return of Ben Stevenson’s blockbuster production of Dracula, set to the music of Franz Liszt in an arrangement by John Lanchbery. The wildly theatrical ballet features vampire brides who fly through the air, a ghastly coach, exploding chandeliers and a magnificent cape in which Dracula ensnares his victims. Tulsa Ballet will give four performances of Dracula at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. All Dracula performances are accompanied by the Tulsa Symphony and led by Tulsa Ballet Principal Conductor Peter Stafford Wilson. For tickets call (918) 749 – 6006 or visit online at www.tulsaballet.org.
“Dracula occupies a unique place in the ballet repertory: its storyline, theatricality, visuals and special effect make this piece a unique bridge between dance and Broadway shows,” Artistic Director Marcello Angelini said. “While there are many embodiments of this novel into dance, Ben Stevenson continues to be the unrivaled top version in the world. I am pleased to bring it back to our audience and, if its premiere in 2009 is of any indication, we expect four sold out shows!”
In honor of the centennial of the publication of Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Ben Stevenson created Dracula for its world premiere in March of 1997. In translating the novel into ballet, Mr. Stevenson streamlined the story, focused the action entirely in Transylvanian village and developed the title character to seduce his victims with darkly erotic magnetism.
"In bringing Dracula to life in ballet-form, I turned to the great ballets of the nineteenth century for inspiration and guidance,” Stevenson said. “And I was immeasurably aided by scenic designer Thomas Boyd, costume designer Judanna Lynn and the acclaimed ballet arranger John Lanchbery."
Scenic designer Thomas Boyd created three distinct spaces for the ballet: the dank crypt of Dracula’s castle in the first act with a corps de ballet of the Count’s 18 vampire brides; the picturesque village square of the second act; and the bedroom of the count, where he ravishes his victims, in the third act. For her creation of the 70 exquisitely detailed costumes used in the production, designer Judanna Lynn did research on costume design in Romania at the Metropolitan Museum, Costume Institute in New York as well as drawing on memories of a trip to Budapest.
“The costume designs really create a world of Transylvania, both the Dracula lair and the village around it,” said Costume Manager Jerry Wolf. “The character of Dracula, dressed mostly in black, adds a cape of Velvets and brocades that features an appliquéd image of a giant bat on the back. The cape itself weighs 25 pounds and is a stunning work of art. It takes the dancer and one determined dresser to put on and remove this cape several times each performance. Dracula’s brides are ballet’s best corps of undead women. There are 18 brides each wearing a tattered full-skirted dress of nets and organza. Each bride is designed from a different period in time. This undead corps of brides is a collection Dracula has added too over the decades. Subtle changes in necklines, sleeves and decoration show them to be the best of the past.”
Following its successful debut, the production was performed around the world including Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Toronto, Ft. Lauderdale at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., receiving accolades from various distinguished newspapers such as The New York Times review of it being “a Dracula beyond Stoker’s darkest dreams.” Dance Magazine pronounced the work “a Dracula to die for,” calling it the last word on magnificent spectacle. The Chicago Tribune enthused “Dracula gives new life to an old art form.” Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times praised Dracula observing, “The sets, costumes and lighting are not just lavish, but exquisitely beautiful and atmospheric. For once, $1 million, the cost of Dracula, looks like a million.” Under the headline “Dracula looks like a million,” Clive Barnes of the New York Post praised the “sumptuously imaginative scenery,” calling the production “magnificently and spookily spectacular.” Writing in the German newspaper The Sunday World, dance critic Marieluise Jeitschko noted, “The moody ambience of the stage actually drew spontaneous applause from the audience for the set.”
The Oklahoma premiere of Ben Stevenson’s Dracula by Tulsa Ballet in 2009 brought sold-out houses and standing ovations making this production an immediate audience favorite. Tulsa Ballet resurrects this production only days prior to Halloween as a hauntingly delightful treat to its audiences!
“Expect to be charmed and frightened by this nocturnal creature, engrossed in the story of this conflicted being, divided between the conflicting impulses of love and survival,” Angelini said. “Ultimately, expect to be entertained by this unique piece of theater and dance!”