Don’t take the upcoming Playmaker production about Dracula too seriously.  The vampire in “Dracula: the Musical?” is bumbling and inept, more like The Count in the films “Love at First Bite” or “Dracula: Dead and Loving It.” Neither has he any similarity with the current heartthrob, Edward, in the Twilight series. This Dracula loses track of time and fails to return to his castle before sunrise. He spends several days in a sanitarium, interacting with its doctors and patients.

   Since the original Bram Stoker book is now in the public domain, anyone can take a stab at a different version of the story.  Rick Abbot has done just that, writing the book, music and lyrics for this madcap version complete with dancing and special effects.  It pays as much homage to Mel Brooks as to Mr.Stoker.

   This musical farce is produced with assistance from the Oklahoma Arts Council and in cooperation with Samuel French, Inc. The minimum audience age is elementary school. This low maturity level does not reflect the caliber of the script or the intelligence quotient of the cast. It is based on those who will not disturb other audience members, and who will be able to understand the play and find it enjoyable.

   As in the original, Dr. Seward (Daniel Plant) runs a madhouse, and the new Hungarian Count Dracula (Ron Riley) still has designs on the neck of the doctor’s daughter, Mina (Ashley Davidson).  Seward’s ditzy wife Sophie (Tonya Rudick) and Mina’s young friend Bubu (Gisele Adair)—Lucy she is not—provide laughs you can really sink your teeth into. This family is a bit slow on the uptake, so it is up to Van Helsing (Jonathan Elmore) to explain the third bite on Mina’s neck, and to save her with the help of a surly maid, Nelly (Leah McLain), the resident madman, Boris Renfield (gender-bent by Pam Leptich), Bubu, and Dr. Seward.

   This is a great show around which to plan your own Halloween party. But don’t wait until Halloween night. Get your friends together early for one of the ten performances opening Friday, October 16 and running Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays through Halloween, October 31.  Feel free to wear your costumes to a performance.

   Friday, Saturday and Tuesday performances begin at 7:30 pm. Sunday matinees are at 2:00.  For further information and necessary reservations, call 918-786-8950 or email 1groveplaymakers@sbcglobal.net.  Regular Adult tickets are $13.50 including tax; Students (through 12th grade) are $6.75 including tax. Early bird tickets are $11.50 for Adults and $6 for students and went on sale, September 26; offer ends Oct 9. The Free Night for people who have never been to Playmaker production is Tuesday, October 13. (Reservations are necessary.) The Pay What You Can Afford option is available also. Just discuss it when you call for reservations. The Playmakers accept Visa/MC. All performances are at The Playmakers, 121 W. 3rd Street, Grove, OK. Mailing address is PO Box 450236, Grove, OK. 74345-0236.

   “Dracula: the Contest,” a costume contest in conjunction with “Dracula: The Musical?”, began September 26, during the Pelican Festival. If you didn’t get a chance to enter then, please follow the instructions below. Costume photos must be in good taste, or they will not be accepted.

   Send a photo of yourself  (address above)  or by email: 1groveplaymakers@sbcglobal.net. Include your phone number, please. You will be contacted by a volunteer for the required information. Your picture will be put on a large jar which will be placed by The Playmakers  at your favorite business or hangout. The person whose jar collects the most money by October 30 wins a neat surprise prize (which will depend upon the age of the winner). The Playmakers will also make a second jar for you which will be in the lobby of the theatre for all performances through October 30.  The winner will be announced at the final performance on Halloween, October 31. All proceeds go to The Playmakers.

   Some costume ideas include: Edward & Bella, Sookie & Bill, Dracula or his bride(s), Van Helsing, Mina or Lucy, R.M.Renfield, Jonathan Harker, a bat, a coffin…or any Halloween costume based on Dracula, vampires, werewolves, and similar characters from pop-culture—movies, TV, computer games, or comics. Some of the more sinister characters from Harry Potter will be accepted.  Consider who will be voting at your jar’s location.  Your character should be recognizable to your intended donors.