Take some Rock ‘n Rollers from Atlanta’s music scene, grind it up with the city’s killer zombie horror community, marinate for a few years in Atlanta’s most respected experimental theatre, and you have Dracula: The Rock Opera. The show will kick-off 7 Stages 34th season, and with the theater’s history of edgy new work, this rock opera will be one of the most talked about shows in Atlanta theatre this year.
The Little Five Points RockStar Orchestra, known for their highly complex music arrangement, takes a musical journey to the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania.
Dracula: The Rock Opera brings Bram Stoker’s chilling novel to life with sex, blood, and rock & roll. Experience a theatrical concert event like no other. This wild musical journey features stunning visual effects, sultry choreography, and a live band rockin’ out to a new version of this classic tale.
The group started creating the rock opera three year ago. Rob Thompson, one of Dracula’s composers and Shane Morton, who created Atlanta’s, Zombie Apocalypse and The Silver Screen Spook Show, wanted to develop a project that combined their two passions, music and horror. Stoker’s “Dracula” seemed like the obvious choice. Unlike other versions of the popular classic.
Dracula: The Rock Opera stays true to the original source material. “While writing, I had a copy of Dracula beside me, and I would constantly refer to the parts I was writing about. I pulled everything out of the book and did not add anything new. Like a love story.” says Thompson.
Fans of Stoker’s novel will be drawn to the music which has an underground feel inspired by groups like Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, and Deep Purple, with a splash of Jesus Christ Superstar for that theatrical flare. “Really our main goal was writing really good songs that communicate the message clearly and not worrying so much about having awesome guitar riffs. I am writing music that supports the mood of the song and still has a rock edge,” comments Thompson.
The gritty sound will have audiences rockin’ out, while the creatively gruesome air-brushed make-up designs of Shane Morton add a thoroughly unique look to the production. Shane is no stranger to creating convincing blood, guts and disembodied heads. His recent work with the film, “Dear God! No!” has many calling Morton a horror renaissance man, the Rob Zombie of Atlanta. “Growing up on a steady diet of classic horror movies really prepared me for this make-up design as it definitely has an old school look.” says Morton. “I’ve been obsessed with Dracula since I was a child to such an extreme that I traveled as an adult to Transylvania to research Vlad the Impaler.”
With a cast so large, and make-up so intricate, Morton and his crew have no small task in getting the performers stage ready. “Rob is Dracula already! Over the years I’ve done his make-up so many times that I am familiar with his facial anatomy and I can knock it out in 10-15 minutes. Although, I always wish I had more time, but you’ve got to think fast, perform fast, and be able to deliver under pressure. But, I work best under those circumstances!” Shane is also training others to apply the air-brush make-up as there are 18 actors to paint.
Over the years many versions of Dracula have hit the stage, including a recent Broadway disappointment that closed after only two weeks of performances. “We feel we have found a way into the mystery of Dracula. We have a fabulous group of rock and rollers who have developed this project over three years, lots of blood, gore, and no goofy romance. We want our audiences to have fun. It is deliberately not scary, although there is a lot of blood and spooky looking characters. It’s a theatrical rock concert,” says Del Hamilton, director of Dracula, and Artistic Director of 7 Stages.
Dracula: The Rock Opera will be the last show Hamilton directs as Artistic Director of 7 Stages. The theater is in the process of a transition plan to usher in new artistic leadership.
Dracula: The Rock Opera
September 13 to October 14
Shows Times: Thursday – Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m.
Tickets $30 Box Office 404-523-7647