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Frightful fun: Jefferson High performs ‘Dracula’

POSTED: November 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Brandee A. Thomas/The Times

Jefferson High School students, from left, Paige Keane, Matt Sparks, Harrison Waldron and Josh Daugherty rehearse a scene from the school's production of Bram Stoker's "Dracula."

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JEFFERSON — Dracula may have been killed hundreds of years ago in Transylvania, but that won’t stop the Drama Dragons of Jefferson High School from bringing the vampire to life on stage tonight.

At 7:30 p.m., Jefferson High School students will bring Bram Stoker’s classic tale to the stage in the school’s performance arts center just in time for Halloween.

"They’ve been practicing five days a week since mid-August," said Laci Wilkes, assistant director for the Drama Dragons, the school’s drama club.

"We have two performances every year — a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. We thought it would be fun to perform ‘Dracula’ during the week of Halloween."

The Drama Dragons’ performance is more than your typical school play — it’s a full production with a sound and lighting crew, hand-painted sets and full makeup.

As a Halloween treat, the group will have a special, late-night performance of the play at 10 p.m. Friday.

"We thought it would be something fun and safe that kids could do after they finished trick or treating," Wilkes said.

While the play serves as a showcase for student talent, it is also a fundraiser for the drama group.

"All proceeds go to the Drama Dragons," said Roger Bright, the group’s director and the school’s drama teacher.

"We use the money to help make our (productions) bigger and better. We also are trying to get to (a drama) conference. Of course the big dream is to take the students to New York."

Although Bright says the Drama Dragons want to make each production better than the last, the group’s previous performance of "The Wizard of Oz" inspired one performer in "Dracula" to audition for the play.

"When I saw them perform ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ I thought it was really amazing and wanted to get involved," said Paige Keane, a Jefferson High School freshman, who will be playing Lucy Westenra.

"I’ve always done drama productions, but I’m still a little bit nervous about opening night."

While several cast members in "Dracula" will be graduating this year, they don’t plan to give up the love of acting they’ve picked up at Jefferson High.

Both Matt Sparks and Josh James say that they were bitten by the acting bug at Jefferson and plan to continue acting after graduation.

"I found my passion for acting right when I got in high school," James said. "I’ve done a few productions here, and I plan to continue acting in college. This is a passion that I have, and I’m just never going to let it go."



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