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Beware: 'Dracula' comes to town

Cast members (from left) Andy Hoffman, Jocie McDonald, Tom Martin, Brooke Luing and Samantha Mejia rehearse the Worthington High School play "Dracula" (played by Martin, center) Wednesday evening at the Memorial Auditorium in Worthington.1 / 2
Worthington High School senior Lizzy Wetering is under the evil spell of Dracula in the WHS play at Memorial Auditorium in Worthington. Performances begin tonight.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON-- Either all that fake blood is getting to them, or the cast and crew of "Dracula" are excited for their debut tonight.

The Worthington High School students bounced around with anticipation at the dress rehearsal Wednesday, when a few girls donned vampire capes while the boys had their hair styled by helpful friends wielding flat irons and hair gel.

Stephen Hotchner's "Dracula" tells the story of Jonathan Harker, who narrowly escapes death at the hands of the vampire Count Dracula and must work with his friend, Dr. Van Helsing, to save his new wife, Mina, from a similarly grim fate.

The roughly 25 cast and crew members have been preparing since mid-September.

"We've just been practicing as normal and doing kind of a 'stumble through' where the kids know their lines, but if they forget them, I still let them call out for lines," explained teacher Gillian Giebner as she put the finishing touches on a mirror for Dracula's home. She said her only directing experience comes from co-directing another production of "Dracula" while student teaching.

"It's a fun play. I thought it would be something different that Worthington hadn't done before -- and it's kind of close to Halloween," she added with a laugh.

Count Dracula is played by sophomore Tom Martin, a newcomer to high school theater who said he's enjoyed getting into the character.

"(Dracula) is a bit more arrogant than I'd prefer, but hey, he's been around for 450 years," he joked before adopting a "I vant to suck your blood" Transylvanian accent for the rehearsal.

The unfortunate Jonathan Harker, whose trip to close a real-estate transaction with Dracula sets off the action, is played by senior Andy Hoffman.

"Usually I have minor roles. This is my first major role, so the transition is pretty big," he said. "With every play, I tape record all of my lines and just listen to them when I'm driving, or in between acts I sit and go over my lines by myself. Either way, they both really help."

He also mentioned the number of theater novices involved in the play.

"Every bit that we can help them with, they should be taking in as much as they can ... so they can lead the generations after we leave," he said.

"Dracula" will be preformed at 7:30 tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at Memorial Auditorium. Tickets will be sold at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m.