homepage logo

Dracula to feast at Cultural Park; Theater to put on classic production — with new twists

By Staff | Oct 8, 2008

The notorious fiend from Transylvania arrives in Cape Coral as Bram Stoker’s legendary tale of Count Dracula terrorizes the stage at the Cultural Park Theatre starting Friday.

Director Bob Cozza was running through a full dress rehearsal with his cast Tuesday night, working through the kinks of the spine-tingling tale, testing the lighting and the special effects.

Cozza said he is pleased to be working with this particular group of actors, who range from experienced to novice.

“The cast is excited,” Cozza said. “And that excitement keeps me going. I look at it as one big family.”

Cozza is a former high school administrator from the Jersey Shore, who also taught speech.

He said he has been “semi-retired” for about five years, adding that some things that attracted him to the Cape was the thriving arts community and the level of “hidden talent” that seemed to lay just below the surface.

“There’s talent all over this place. There really is,” he said.

Cozza praised the Cultural Park Theatre for providing a venue to perform unique pieces like “Dracula,” which gives volunteers the opportunity to pitch in and try their hand at just about anything: acting, stage design, selling tickets. He said he even invited his neighbors to stop by the theater and help pitch in to build the sets, which they did.

“There’s a camaraderie,” Cozza said. “It’s just woven through here.”

This is his third season at the theater, as both director and actor. Last year he put on a production of “Cheaper By The Dozen.” He will also be playing the role of George Bailey in “Its a Wonderful Life,” the same role made famous by Jimmy Stewart.

“I limit myself to two a year, just to stay in touch with the kids,” he said.

Though the tale of the Count has been told many times, Cozza — who saw a production on Broadway in the seventies with Frank Langella as Dracula — promised a “few surprises” that will make this production of “Dracula” unique and exciting.

“We’re asking the audience to use their imagination, as with any stage production. But we’ll have a few surprises for them. The last scene is a killer. No pun intended,” he said.

The actors listened closely while Cozza talked of their first rehearsal on Monday.

He instructed them to do things slower, to be “aware” of the perimeters of the stage itself. He told them the first rehearsal had many very nice moments, before letting them loose to run through it a second time.

“I see them as my charges,” he said. “I’m a coordinator, a nurturer. I want to allow creativity.”

Cultural Park Theatre is located at 528 Cultural Park Blvd. For more information contact the theater at 772-5862.