Dr. Seward’s Dracula is waiting for you to join the Halloween adventure

| October 19, 2016 | Comments (0)

dracula51-1-400x268We’re just a few weeks away from Halloween and if you haven’t finalized your plans yet, First Folio Theatre has a show that has just the right mix of creepy innuendo, psychological thrill and ghostly characters. Dr. Seward’s Dracula continues First Folio Theatre’s wonderful tradition of performing a show that uses the unique Mayslake Peabody Estate to its benefit.

There have long been rumors and stories about how Mayslake Peabody Estate is haunted. When you consider that the estate’s first owner, F. S. Peabody, died on the original grounds, there is plenty of reality to fuel to the ghost stories. In fact, I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find an old estate that doesn’t have stories about other-worldly creatures visiting once in a while.

As you walk up to the theatre, you can imagine those who came before you walking through those same doors. It’s not hard to imagine the characters in Dr. Seward’s Dracula wandering the house in costume — and feeling perfectly at home.

First Folio Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of Dr. Seward’s Dracula, written by Joseph Zettelmaier, which tells the story you think you know in a way you would not expect. The play starts with a playful conversation between Dr. Seward (a physician formerly employed at an asylum) and Emily, a lovely young woman we soon discover is his one-true-love. Through their twisting conversation, we also learn that Emily was engaged to Dr. Seward’s best friend, Andrew.

Dr. Seward (Christian Gray) left the asylum after a series of strange murders by a patient referred to as Dracula. Dr. Seward kept detailed journals of his experiences with Dracula. He shares his journals with an Irish writer named Bram Stoker, who soon becomes one of Dr. Seward’s closest confidants.

Very quickly the audience realizes that Emily (Elizabeth Stenholt) is not among the living. When Emily, Dr. Seward  and Bram Stoker (Joe Stearns) are all together, only Dr. Seward can hear and see Emily. When we later learn how Emily and Dracula are connected, we start to wonder if she is really a ghost or if she is a figment of his imagination.

As the story progresses, you start to wonder if Dr. Seward might have imagined the entire Dracula story. There are signs that he might be descending into his own madness. It isn’t until the very last few minutes that the audience gets the answers to their questions. It’s an interesting twist that brings the whole story together, even as Dr. Seward seems to be falling apart.

Dr. Seward’s Dracula is a story that will keep you enthralled until that last moments. At times you are certain that you know what is happening. Other times you have no idea what you know. It’s something the audience shares with Dr. Seward from the opening act until the last scene. It’s a great story for the Halloween season. Families with older children should add it to their Halloween adventures this year.

First Folio Theatre performs at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 171 W. 31st Street in Oak Brook. There is plenty of free parking. Dr. Seward’s Dracula runs through November 7. Tickets are priced between $26 and $39 per person. For more information, visit www.firstfolio.org.


Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of First Folio Theatre.


Disclosure:  I did receive media passes to attend the opening night performance. My words and opinions are my own.



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About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

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