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Children’s Theatre Playhouse Youth Summer Camp chases away summertime blues

by Mark Burger

The Children’s Theatre of Winston- Salem’s Playhouse Youth Summer Camp is ready to put into practice — and production — what they’ve learned, with its upcoming presentation of productions of Disney’s Aladdin Jr., which opens this Friday at the Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem).

This lighthearted musical extravaganza is based on the 1992 animated blockbuster from Walt Disney Studios, which won two Academy Awards and became one of the studio’s most lucrative franchises. All the popular characters are back: Aladdin, Jasmine, the nefarious Jafar and his sidekick Iago, the Sultan and, of course, Genie.

The show also includes many of the songs that made the film so popular, including “Arabian Nights,” “Prince Ali,” “One Jump Ahead,” “Friend Like Me” and “A Whole New World,” which won the Academy Award as Best Song. The song “Why Me?” was originally written for the film but didn’t make the final cut; it’s been added to Aladdin Jr. Aladdin Jr. is recommended for audiences pre-K to eighth grade (grown-ups might like it, too!). Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5.

But the Playhouse Youth Summer Camp is only getting started, as its production of the Bram Stoker classic Dracula will open Friday, Aug. 13 (Friday the 13 th ? How appropriat …), also at the Arts Council Theatre.

Stoker’s 1897 novel about the notorious Count Dracula has been a perennial bestseller since it was first published, and has inspired countless adaptations and imitations, and a treasure trove of merchandising. Inspired by an actual historical figure, Dracula is inarguably one of the bestknown characters around the world.

Hamilton Deane penned the first stage adaptation of Dracula in 1924, followed by John L Balderston’s revised adaptation three years later. The original Broadway production launched the career of Bela Lugosi, who reprised his role in the classic 1930 film version and could never quite escape the image of the Count throughout his career.

Of course, Lugosi is only one of many actors who have donned the cape of the Count on stage, screen and television, including John Carradine, David Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., Jack Palance, Frank Langella, Gary Oldman, Terence Stamp, Raul Julia, Martin Landau, Gerard Butler, George Hamilton, Klaus Kinski and many others.

Everyone has their own favorite Dracula, and mine is Christopher Lee. (I am not alone in that opinion.)

In his never-ending quest for fresh blood, Count Dracula leaves his Transylvanian homeland and arrives in Victorian London, and is soon on the prowl. Can the Prince of Darkness be stopped before he puts the bite on more victims? A few brave souls put themselves in peril to eradicate this scourge from the Earth.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday (Aug. 13) and Saturday (Aug. 14). Tickets are $5. This production is recommended for ages 14 and up. (It might be a bit scary for smaller children.)

For more information about either production, or about the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem’s other programs, call 336.725.4531 or visit its official website: www. childrenstheatrews.org/

If you’ve ever wanted to follow in the footsteps of Robert Redford or Jane Fonda, Twin City Stage is holding open auditions for its 2010- ’11 season opener, Neil Simon’s Tony Awardwinning comedy Barefoot in the Park, which will open in September and is being directed by Whit Andrews, former executive director of Twin City Stage, back when it was called the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem.

Auditions will take place at 7 p.m. Monday (Aug. 2) at the Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem). There are roles for four men, ages 20s-60s, and for two women, one in her 20s and the other in her 40s-50s.

The story focuses on Paul and Corie Bratter, a couple newly married and just returned from their honeymoon. As they settle into their new apartment in New York City, Paul and Corie begin to realize that now it’s time to face up to their responsibilities as husband and wife — the reality of which proves a bit more difficult than they initially envisioned.

The original Broadway production starred Redford and Elizabeth Ashley, and earned three Tony nominations — winning the Best Director award for Mike Nichols. It also ran more than 1,500 performances. Redford reprised his role in the hit 1967 film version opposite Jane Fonda. A 2006 Broadway revival starred Amanda Peet and Patrick Wilson as Corie and Paul.

Barefoot in the Park is scheduled to run Sept. 17-26.

For more information, call 336.748.0857, ext. 201. For more information about Twin City Stage, visit the official website: www. twincitystage.org.

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