Dracula | a radio play
Bram Stoker’s famous gothic novel tells the harrowing tale of a group of individuals involved in a deadly struggle against the vampire Dracula.
Jerry C. Jaffe
Recording Engineer & Assistant Director
Matt Sucre '97
Production Supervisor & Mixing Engineer
Julie Harter '07 & Jeramie Burge
Script Supervisor & Editor
Matt Sucre '97
Prof Van Helsing
Russian Sea Captain
Dr. Seward's Housekeeper Molly
And a special guest appearance by Chris Lambert
A Note from the Director: “The Preying of the Undead”
As we entered the Fall 2020 school year amidst the very serious health concerns caused by the covid-19 pandemic, I had to put some serious thought into whether or not our Theatre Department would have any kind of production schedule this year. Over the summer I settled on the idea of doing a radio play for our Fall production. As a kid, my father used to play records of old radio plays. And later, as an Orson Welles fan, enjoyed discovering his work as a radio performer. On top of that, every sci-fi nerd who loves Douglass Adams's The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy knows it also started out as a BBC radio show. The next step was to pick one. I briefly considered HG2G but the radio show version has many chapters and seemed a bit much to tackle. A lot of people know Orson Welles’s famous adaptation of War of the Worlds, but it was a little too familiar—I didn’t want to just recreate something he did. Welles’s WotW was part of a series produced by his Mercury Theatre on the Air, so I went back and listened to some of his other shows. For example, he did a great adaptation, now largely forgotten, of the Lincoln biographical play Abraham Lincoln by John Drinkwater -- and our country could probably use a reminder of what a great president is really like right now – but that script was too expansive. I think I counted 6,000 different characters (although I may be exaggerating!) And that’s when I remembered Welles also did a Dracula adaptation!
With Halloween coming up in the Fall, a Dracula adaptation seemed right. I studied Welles’s script—he did a great job of editing Bram Stoker’s novel into a 50- minute radio play! But so much was cut out, it wasn’t quite rich enough for my blood. For example, Welles’s version completely excluded Renfield, one of the most popular characters in the novel, and in the 1931 film too. Thus began the editing and revising process! Two themes struck me which I hope stand out to our listeners. First, Mina Harker is depicted as a strong, independent woman. I really wanted to honor her as a character. Secondly is the idea of contagion. Van Helsing clearly warns his fellow vampire hunters of the danger of the disease of Vampirism spreading: “all that die from the preying of the Undead become themselves Undead and prey on others. So the circle goes on, ever widening, as of the ripples from a stone thrown into the water.”
This clarion call to halt the spread of the vampyric infection seems to resonate in these coronavirus times. With that, let me thank, well everyone. Angela DelPrete and everyone in the PR office for making this website possible, and all the hard work they do. My production team, especially Jeff Gedert and Matt Sucre, who did all the nuts and bolts work necessary for creating a radio drama. Of course, I must thank my wonderful cast! With much live theater currently canceled, we were all excited to have a project like this to work on. Most of all, I really do thank our audience—anyone who takes the time to sit down and listen (or stand up and listen, or however you listen!) has my undying gratitude. Finally, I thank my family for supporting me in all these endeavors: Yuki, KK, Sabu, Soren, Kevin, Newton, Kelvin, and our go Fred (she’s a girl!).
Happy Halloween everyone! - Jerry C. Jaffe
Michael Burke (Renfield)
Michael is a 2014 graduate of Ohio Northern University with a BA in Theatre. He has performed in various shows for the past two years in the Akron/Canton area: Titanic, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rock of Ages and Chicago. His last performance before quarantine was as Lord Farquaad in Shrek: the Musical.
Kayla Clark (Dr. Seward's Housekeeper)
Kayla is a sophomore at Lake Erie College majoring in history and playing women’s basketball, and this is her first theater role at LEC. Previously, she has been in Bye Bye Birdie, Guys and Dolls, and “Floating on a Don’t Care Cloud”.
Greg Gnau (Prof Van Helsing)
Greg is delighted to work with this talented cast and production team. Previous roles at LEC include John Tarleton in MISALLIANCE; Robert in PROOF; Roderick Usher in MURDER BY POE. Greg has also been active in many productions at both Fine Arts Association and Rabbit Run Theatre. Thanks for listening in and remember my friends, “There are such things as Vampires”.
Patrick W. Lafferty (Ensemble)
Patrick has occasionally acted on stage and in film over the years and loves playing a part in telling great stories. Feel free to check out his IMDB page for a full listing of some of those great stories. Patrick is excited to be making his radio production debut and had a blast in the process of helping to tell another great story. He hopes you enjoy the production as much as he enjoyed being a part of it.
Chris Lambert (Guest Appearance)
Chris is an actor and writer based locally in Lake County. For the past 10 years he has toured his original one-man show portraying Orson Welles. Additionally, he has written a book about the famous filmmaker, Orson vs Alfred. A former columnist for the News Herald, he has written many other books, including his contribution to Superman at Fifty.
Will Mortensen (Russian Captain)
Will is very familiar with Lake Erie College, and pleased to be a part of this unusual show in unusual circumstances. Will has done theater in the area for years; his most recent show was HELP’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, where he played Claude Frollo.
Dallas Stark (Lucy Westenra)
Dallas is very grateful to be acting in this spooky production of Dracula. She is from Tennessee where she has acted on the stage at her university. Some of her favorite roles have been Maxine in Pluto and Iris in The Nether. Her hobbies include baking, learning ballet, and trying to do a Scottish accent. Dallas is very excited to continue her acting career here in Cleveland.
Matthew Sucre ’97 (Script Supervisor & Editor, Recording Engineer & Assistant Director)
Matt returns to the LEC to share his podcasting/radio play expertise. He is the Producer/Director of Sweet Bunny Radio Plays which last year, as part of its 100 Ghost Story series did a live presentation of “The Ghosts of Lake Erie,” about our own ghostly tales on campus. Matt designed lights for recent shows such as: “Hamletmachine (18)” and “I Hate Hamlet (19).” While attending LEC he was involved with shows such as: ”Cloud 9 (97),” “Little Shop of Horrors (95),” and “Waiting for Godot (93). ” He lives with his wife Amy Holland (’98) and bunny, Oni, in Lakewood, Ohio.
Brett Voina (Dracula)
This is Brett’s first performance with LEC and he is excited to make his debut with this production. Brett is a graduate of the Perry Drama Program and is currently working on pursuing his acting career. Past film credits include, “Brett” in Disconnected, a 2020 film by Jonathan Chiarle. “Greg” in Poetic Kill, a 2009 film by Briana Latrise. On the stage Brett has been seen in roles such as “Max” in Bent, “Phillip Lombard” in And Then There Were None, “Lax Morales” in Hello Herman, and “Little Charles Aiken” in August: Osage County, at the Kathleen Howland Theatre in Canton. He also played the role of “Nat” in The Birds at the historic Coach House Theatre in Akron. Currently, he is in production in a supporting role with an upcoming feature film. He is 37 years old and lives in Massillon with his wife and children.
Matthew J. Wilks (Ensemble)
Matthew is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Theatre: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Nerd, and 2 seasons performing at Hilarities Comedy Club in their comedy murder mystery shows. Film: Draft Day, Little Evil and Cleveland Abduction. He can currently be seen performing monthly with Curtains! Mystery Theatre and The Dinner Detective.
Rosco Young (Ensemble)
This is Rosco's first time doing with voiceover work. He has done theater work in the past and is trained for theater, film, and voice at NYFA and the Acting Studio in NYC.
Cameron Zona ’22 (Jonathan Harker)
Cameron is a junior at Lake Erie College majoring in Theatre and Entrepreneurship Studies. In his time at LEC, Cameron has performed in Next to Normal (Gabe), I Hate Hamlet (Andrew), The Man Who Couldn't Dance (Eric), and Murder By Poe (Dupin/Poe), as well as directing the one-act play Bread. Cameron currently owns and manages his own theatre company, The Access Theatre Project. He is very grateful to Dr. Jaffe for the opportunity to perform during these strange times!