CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Houston Ballet's 'Dracula' adds extra spookiness to Iowa Halloween
Oct. 30-31 in Hancher
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Houston Ballet will make Halloween a little spookier
when it brings its full-length ballet version of "Dracula" to
the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for performances at 8 p.m. Friday
and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31.
Audience members are invited to wear apparel appropriate for an "undead"
performance, if they so desire. The Hancher ushers and cafe staff will
also be in Halloween costumes, including day-glo vampire fangs.
Ben Stevenson, artistic director of the Houston Ballet, created "Dracula"
in 1997 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker's classic thriller.
"'Dracula is an amazing story," he says. "It's very gruesome,
but it continues to fascinate people 100 years later."
The critics have certainly been fascinated by the Houston Ballet production.
Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times described it as "a spectacle
on an order ballet audiences seldom see today. The sets are not just lavish,
but exquisitely beautiful and atmospheric. The ballet . . . is crammed
with ingenious stage magic. Count Dracula and his ghostly undead brides
fly. The Count dies in a flash of light atop a candlelighted chandelier.
For once, $1 million, the cost of 'Dracula,' looks like a million."
Calling "Dracula" "a ballet with teeth," the Chicago
Tribune's Sid Smith wrote that Stevenson has created "a balanced,
tasteful, lavishly produced and supremely classical work." And Clive
Barnes of the New York Post called the production "magnificently and
For his "Dracula" score, Stevenson chose music by Hungarian
composer Franz Liszt, in an arrangement created especially for the Houston
Ballet by the celebrated British ballet composer John Lanchbery.
The production's scenic design by Thomas Boyd evokes the haunted, creepy,
nocturnal world in which vampires thrive. Designer Judanna Lynn created
more than 60 richly detailed, late-19th-century costumes, including a spectacular
bat-like cape with which the Count envelopes his victims.
The "Dracula" story has been retold in many ways, from horror
story to psychological thriller to outlandish farce, but Stevenson chose
to take the story very seriously, with all its raw terror and twisted eroticism.
"Dracula is evil," he observes. "I've tried to keep the
chilling side of the story in my treatment for the ballet."
The company stresses that this version of "Dracula" is not
appropriate for very young children. Stevenson says, "I look upon
Dracula as being a very sensuous man, with a definite sexual attraction
to his victims. He is turned on by certain women -- the most beautiful
women he can find." As Sam Howe Verhovek of the New York Times put
it, "'Swan Lake' it is not."
Country Bancorporation and Kay J.A. Bernau are the sponsors of the Houston
Ballet performances, through the University of Iowa Foundation.
Tickets for "Dracula" are $40, $37 and $34. UI students and
senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, and Zone 3 tickets are
available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger
are half price.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa,
dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is
toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office
personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair
access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is
equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr/
on the World Wide Web.
Navigate to http://www.NeoSoft.com/~ballet/index.htm
on the World Wide Web to learn more about the Houston Ballet and it's original
production of "Dracula."