By Steven Dietz with additional material by Lori Wolter Hudson
Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker
Produced by Three Day Hangover
Off Off Broadway, Adaptation
Runs through 10.17.15
McAlpin Hall at The West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 West 86th Street
by Zak Risinger on 10.7.15
Nemuna Ceesay and Miranda Noelle Wilson in Dracula. Photo by Lloyd Mulvey.
BOTTOM LINE: A boozy, bitchin' take on Bram Stoker's classic tale that asks the audience to move about the space and have a seriously sweet ass good time.
Here we go again. It’s Halloween so of course there are appropriately themed shows like Dracula playing all over town. Why should you care? Why should you go? What makes Three Day Hangover’s most recent production of the Bram Stoker classic different? It’s freakin' hysterical, there are drinking games, audience participation, and a cash bar that is open throughout the entire performance. It’s the most fun I've had at the theater in years. Three Day Hangover is making theatre fun again.
McAlpin Hall is a pretty rad setting for this staging of Dracula. You walk into this grand space with deep red walls, chandeliers, and a DJ. You’re invited to mingle and grab a drink and get ready for an awesome night of boozy debauchery and art. Three Day Hanover asks the audience to interact with each other, the cast, and the set throughout this crazy production. You move from space to space as the action unfolds and the audience’s inhibitions are lowered as they continue to drink.
I won't bore you with details because it’s Dracula and you likely have at least a vague idea of what the story is about. But in this version, instead of garlic warding off the famous blood sucking Transylvanian, your only protection is, of course, booze. That’s right. The more you drink, the better your chances of survival. That’s a vampire story I can get behind.
The cast here is awesome. Guided by Kristin McCarthy Parker's skilled direction, the cast manages to find surprising moments of comedy, pop culture references, modern vernacular, and crazy excuses to imbibe with a cold beer or shot. January Lavoy (of One Life to Live fame) is kind of a big deal, and everything she does as Professor Van Yeungling is perfection. Jonathan Finnegan breathes some fresh and quirky life into the often bland and boring Seward. Miranda Noelle Wilson is also fearless and hysterical as the lusty Lucy.
I have to admit I wasn't all that excited to see another production of Dracula but I somehow don't feel like that's even what I saw. While I knew the story, Three Day Hangover injected so much joy, fun, and humor into this production that I felt like I was witnessing something that had never been seen before. We forget some times that theatre should be fun and accessible to everyone and that is just what Three Day Hangover has done. If you want to laugh out loud with pure abandonment with a bunch of friends—and friends you haven't met—then run to see this show. It's downtown theatre at its best with an Upper West Side address. Good Story. Great Acting. Cash Bar. Fun for All.
(Dracula plays at McAlpin Hall at The West Park Presbyterian Chruch, 165 West 86th Street at Amsterdam Avenue, through October 16, 2015. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $15 and are available at threedayhangover.com.)