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Leah Stacy reviews 'Dracula' 

Producing one Rochester Fringe Festival show is ambitious -- but just one show isn't enough for Virginia Monte and WallByrd Theatre Co. In addition to "The Kiss," which plays at SOTA for a last time on Saturday, September 24, at 9 p.m., WallByrd teamed up with Syracuse-based actor and playwright Alec Barbour to mount his adaptation of "Dracula."

The majestic Lyric Theatre - formerly a church and a newer Fringe venue - serves as the backdrop for this dark tale. Due to a successful crowdfunding campaign, WallByrd was able to bring in three equity actors (including Barbour, who plays Dr. John Seward) to perform in the show. Most of the cast is absolutely magnetizing -- a word not often associated with staged readings. A few local faces pepper the stage, while others were brought in from Syracuse and New York City. Some, like Ian Heitzman (Dracula) are reprising the roles they performed in a 2010 NYC reading of the show.

While this is a staged reading, the additions of lighting, sound effects, and music make the two-hour show seem less like a workshop and more like a full production. (There's also a brief intermission for those who need to stretch after sitting in the Lyric's wooden pews for an hour.) The timing is a challenge, since it's a "school night" for most, but seeing this show is well worth losing a few hours of sleep.

"Dracula" plays again on Thursday, September 22, at the Lyric Theater: Main Stage. 10:45 p.m. Appropriate for ages 13 and older. And hopefully, there's a full production in the works for later this year or next.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the final performance date of "The Kiss."

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