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From left to right: Bethany Sulecki as Mina, Cole Prots as Harker, Brett D. Johnson as Van Helsing and Michael Rowe as Seward.

Dracula takes a bite out of Mercyhurst University

“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” This is considered to be one of the most prominent lines from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. The Mercyhurst University Theatre Program will present an adaptation of the gothic novel of the same name written by Steven Dietz beginning on Aug. 24 through Aug. 28.

The play takes place in London and redefines the suspense and horror that is so beloved of the classic. Luke Ballantyne will take on the title role of Dracula and the main protagonist, Mina Murray, is portrayed by Bethany Sulecki.

The play closely follows the plot of the novel and narrates Count Dracula’s journey to England. While all of the novel’s major plot points are present in Dietz’s adaptation, they are not presented in the same order. Renfield, portrayed by Ashley Poletto, serves as a narrator.

“Renfield is a mental patient under Dr. Seward’s care, played by Michael Rowe, and Renfield kind of connects the story together,” Poletto said.

According to Poletto, the theatre department was originally going to present “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940”. Due to its similarity to The Drowsy Chaperone last fall and a large set requirement, Brett Johnson, Ph.D., decided to do “Dracula” instead because he had always wanted to do this play. Furthermore, the guest director is Doug Powers, Ph.D., from Susquehanna University.

“Powers has a very interesting and striking interpretation of this text, and this far into the rehearsal process I can tell it will be very enjoyable to the audience,” Poletto said. This is the third time he is working with Mercyhurst’s Theatre program.

It might seem odd that this play is not going premier in the fall, however, there are a few reasons as to why it is not. “The reason we didn’t do it in the fall is because the fall is when we do our big musical, and because the first show allows more work for the actor and more creativity in creating the character,” Poletto said.

Opening night is Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and the other performances are on

Thursday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26 at 12 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and the matinee performance will be on Sunday, August 28 at 2 p.m.


Tickets for the performance are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $5 for youth and Mercyhurst students. This production contains adult situations, theatrical smoke, screaming and stage blood so the Mercyhurst Institute of Arts and Culture recommends that anyone under the age of 13 should not attend the performance.

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