Westfield Theater Group, Westfield, MA
through November 2, 2013
by Eric Johnson
Community theatre: a full time hobby and passion for those involved, and an opportunity to see our family, friends, and neighbors do something they love.
Creating a musical comedy from a story is quite an undertaking, and finding the laughs in Bram Stokers chilling 1897 Gothic horror novel is not a challenge to be taken lightly. The team of Kathleen Palmer and Marion Dunk of Westfield Theater Group rose to the occasion and did just that: wrote a comical, family-friendly take on the original vampire story.
The cast of 30+ actors, comprised of WTG veterans and some newcomers, all appeared to be having a wonderful experience on the stage, working together to create an evening of entertainment for an enthusiastic audience. Special kudos to Jay Torres for stepping into the lead role, and doing an admirable job of it, with only a few days notice. Generally, there are no understudies in community theatre, so the company prays to the theatre deities to keep all healthy through the run. Most of the time they come through, but not always.
"Dracula's band is ably led by composer/music director Marion Dunk through the 25 (give or take) musical numbers that drive the 2 hour 40 minute show. Several of the numbers are plainly exposition, such as “Woman’s Work," a solo for Keri Klee (role of Mina). No crime there however, as this is oftentimes done in professional theatre as well.
A bit of scene stealing is good for some memorable comic moments courtesy of Gene Choquette (Van Helsing), Carol Palmer (Cneaja), Rock Palmer (Sam), and John Farrel (Quincy).
For those seeking some enjoyable, family friendly Halloween entertainment, Westfield Theater Group's family, friends, and neighbors provide it with "Dracula."