The difficulty in finding new ways to tell a century-old story is not lost on the Columbia City Ballet.
Since its premiere in 1991, Dracula has been seen by audiences across the country, but those familiar with popular culture know that vampires have taken on a new look.
“Its really a mix of the classical story with modern themes,” executive director William Starrett said. “The scenes set in London have a very classical look and sound to it and the scenes in the castle have updated lighting and a rock and techno approach.”
Starrett has done several things to remain current. Vampires are no longer “creepy guys with capes.” They are more seductive and attractive, which he has actively tried to portray in the show.
New technologies have also helped give the show a modern look, such as special blood effects and current techno music.
The fact that the story is so relatible is also what has helped the show maintain popularity. The story remains relevant by using seductive and attractive actors similar to other popular vampire movies and shows.
The story follows Jonathan Hawker and Lucy Westenra as they experience Count Dracula’s seduction into the world of blood lust.
“This is probably the youngest Count Dracula that I’ve ever had,” Starrett said. “I really wanted to portray that he came into the Dracula universe at a young age. His energy and sensual approach gives it a whole new dynamic. He has a strong jaw line, broad shoulders and chiseled abs.”
Starrett wants the crowd to be as seduced by the count as the characters are.
“The music has been updated, the costumes have gone through transformations, but mostly the undead is where changes happen the most,” Regina Willoughby said. Willoughby, who plays Lucy, believes the Victorian scenes remain fairly constant, but the undead scenes offer the most opportunities to put a creative spin on the story.
“It’s a recruiting play,” Starett said. “If you’ve never been to a ballet before, this is the show to come to.”