New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

BIG NEWS! Here's the latest Issue of NJ Stage Magazine -- Click here

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

By Spotlight Central

originally published: 11/02/2016

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

At the corner of Clifton Ave. and 4th Ave. in Lakewood, NJ, on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, a variety of spooky vampires, ghouls, and other-worldly beings make their way alongside everyday humans into the inviting Strand Theater to see this year’s edition of The Atlantic City Ballet’s production of Dracula.

After a three-year hiatus, The ACB returns to The Strand with Dracula, a production which features 30 talented dancers from 12 different countries. Says ACB managing director, Alexandria Pieroni, “We love being back here at the Strand with one of our signature ballets!”

Created by ACB choreographer, Phyllis Papa, Pieroni goes on to explain, “Phyllis Papa is known for her Dracula ballet statewide. She created it to be like The Nutcracker where people can come back and see it again every year. And that’s exactly what’s happening. The audience knows the moves and they come to reexperience the show — some even wearing costumes! The feedback has been great, and the audience has continuously been building over time.”

According to Pieroni, Papa is not only known for choregraphing such classic ballets as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, but for creating innovative works including Visions, which was performed at The Strand in March of 2016, and Papa & Sinatra: Their Way, which makes its way onto the Strand stage in March of 2017.

Says Papa about Dracula, “I was trying to find a way to get younger people to come to the ballet so, ten years ago, I created this show after reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Back in 2006, I spent a month in Mexico reading the novel and choreographing the piece, and I picked all of the music for it, too. Over the past decade, however, I’ve made some changes to the music.”

The article continues after this ad


Now featuring a compelling score by such modern composers as Mark Mancina, Yoko Kana, Wojciech Kilar, Richard Gibbs, Alan Silvestri, Noriyuki Asakura, John Williams, Nobuo Uematsu, Elliot Goldenthal, Marco D’Ambrosio, Eguchi Takahito, and John Corigliano, Dracula is a show which comes to life via its riveting story, dynamic choreography, talented performers, colorful sets and costumes, dramatic lighting, and exciting special effects which blur the lines between reality and fantasy.

In Dracula, Jonathan Harker (Ionut Zaharia), a London lawyer, travels to Transylvania to help a rich nobleman, Count Dracula, purchase an estate in London. Upon arrival, he is escorted to Dracula’s castle by Romanian peasants.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

After meeting with Dracula (Kristaps Kikulis), Jonathan suddenly realizes he has become a prisoner in the Count’s castle.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

Jonathan tries to escape from the castle, but he’s nearly devoured by the three brides of Dracula. He is saved at the last minute by the Count, who keeps him alive to finish the London real estate transaction.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

When the brides of Dracula are asleep, Jonathan tries to escape again and, this time, he is rescued by some peasants. Because he’s come down with a severe case of brain fever, however, he is forced to recuperate at a convent in Hungary.

In the meantime, Jonathan’s fiancé, Mina (Tsubasa Nozaki), waits for him while her best friend, Lucy, manages to get three marriage proposals in the same day.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

Without anyone’s knowledge of it, Count Dracula arrives in England.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

In London, the Count is accompanied by his three brides (Ryoba Chiba, Sara Lonngren, and Caitlin McElroy).

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

Mina and her suitors are shocked to find that Mina’s best friend, Lucy (Nagisa Suzuki), is acting strangely and seems to be sleepwalking.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

While in a sleepwalking state, Lucy attends a lively London masquerade ball.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

At the ball, she falls under the spell of Count Dracula.

At the same time, Renfield (Marius Iorgulescu), a hospital patient, tries to inform Mina and her suitors that his “master,” Count Dracula, is currently in London.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

Not certain whether they believe Renfield, Mina’s suitors, worried about Lucy, send for Dr. Van Helsing (Robin Heijmans) to examine her.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

Van Helsing, a scientist, is also well-versed in superstition and understands that despite giving her several blood transfusions, Lucy will not recover, as she is now a vampire. She “dies” but the men break into her tomb where they catch her as a vampire and stab her in the heart.

Mina hears from Jonathan and goes to the convent where he’s been recovering. There, they get married and then return to London.

Jonathan, Van Helsing, and the suitors swear to rid England of Count Dracula once and for all.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

While the men are hunting for Dracula, the mental patient, Renfield, leads the Count directly to Mina.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

The men return to find Mina being force fed Dracula’s blood.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

To get even, Jonathan, Van Helsing, and the suitors chase Dracula all the way back to Transylvania.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

There, they catch up to the Count and kill him.

The Atlantic City Ballet’s Production of Dracula is Simply Spooktacular!

But what happens to Mina?

Does she live happily ever after with Jonathan? Or is there another — more sinister — fate for her?

The audience at The Strand finds out the secret and responds with an enthusiastic standing ovation for the entire cast and crew of Dracula!

Following the show, many of the dancers make their way to the lobby to greet patrons and take pictures with their fans.

And just what do these fans have to say about the performance of Dracula they’ve just witnessed?

Mary Jo from Asbury Park calls the production, “outstanding,” going on to add, “We came to The Strand last spring to see The Atlantic City Ballet’s production of Don Quixote and we were so impressed with the quality that we came back tonight and we were blown away — this company really puts their whole heart into each and every one of their performances.”

Fran from Lakewood talks about the visual feast for the eyes which Dracula truly is, specifically mentioning the “amazing colors” and talking about the magical lighting effects “created by The Strand’s talented lighting designer, Emily Lovell.”

Two young children — a boy named Carmen and a girl name Riley— both dressed as Dracula, enjoyed the show, too, Carmen emphatically exclaiming, “I liked it!” and Riley adding, “It was amazing!”

And, Mina, from Galloway Twp, goes on to sum things up by saying, “I loved it — it was spectacular!”

Something we can completely agree on as, for us, The Atlantic City Ballet’s production of Dracula is simply spooktacular!

For upcoming performances by The Atlantic City Ballet — including It’s a Shore Holiday, a Radio City Music Hall-type review set to live music by a six-piece band at Caesars’ Maximus Theater in Atlantic City on Sun. Nov. 27, 2016 — please go to For future ACB performances at The Strand — including The Nutcracker on December 18, 2016 with live orchestral accompaniment by The Garden State Philharmonic, and Caught Up in the Swing along with Papa & Sinatra: Their Way on March 25, 2017 — please go to

Photos by Love Imagery

Spotlight Central. Your source for Jersey entertainment news and reviews

Love Imagery Fine Art Photography. all you need. peace/love/flower/power

For more by this author, click here

New Jersey Ballet To Perform Its Annual Holiday Classic at Mayo
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) --  New Jersey Ballet's seasonal presentation of the holiday classic Nutcracker comes to Mayo Performing Arts Center for 14 performances beginning Friday, December 14 at 7:30pm and ending on Thursday, Dec. 27 at 1:00pm. New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will provide live orchestral accompaniment. Tickets range from $29-69.  
Rowan Percussionists and Dancers To Share The Stage
(GLASSBORO, NJ -- The Rowan Percussion Ensemble features an original dance piece as part of its fall semester concert on Monday, November 19 at 8:00pm in Pfleeger Concert Hall. Under the direction of Dr. Matthew Witten, the ensemble will present a collaboration with choreographer and performer Melanie Stewart, associate dean of the College of Performing Arts at Rowan, on a dance piece set to John Cage’s “Credo in Us.” The work, developed in collaboration with California-based performer, choreographer, and educator Lorelei Bayne, will feature 18 Rowan students.
Roxey Ballet Enters 25th Year Of Presenting The Nutcracker For The Holidays
(EWING, NJ) -- Roxey Ballet will present its 25th Annual American Holiday Classic "Nutcracker" from November 24-December 2 at The College of New Jersey's Kendall Main Stage Theater. This acclaimed annual holiday event has become a favorite tradition of area residents and visitors alike. Both adults and children marvel at the magical spectacle created by the collective vision of Mark and Melissa Roxey, founders of both The Roxey Contemporary Ballet and The Mill Ballet School. It's the perfect way to begin the holiday season.  
AC Ballet Kicks Off The 2018 Holiday Season With It’s A Shore Holiday
​​​​​​​(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- This Thanksgiving weekend the Atlantic City Ballet will be bringing back It’s A Shore Holiday to help kick off the holiday season. It’s A Shore Holiday blends classical and contemporary dance set to beloved holiday tunes. This “Radio City-esque” review will feature the AC Ballet Professional company along with live singers and a six piece band. Performances will take place on Saturday, November 24th at 7:00pm in Circus Maximum Theater (inside Caesars Hotel) in Atlantic City and Sunday, November 25th at 3:00pm in the Stafford Township Arts Center in Manahawkin.
State Theatre Presents Parsons Dance
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Parsons Dance on Thursday, November 15, 2018  at 8:00pm. The program includesWolfgang by David Parsons, The Duet from Finding Center by David Parsons, Ma Maison by Trey McIntyre, Microburst by David Parsons, Caught by David Parsons, and Whirlaway by David Parsons. Tickets range from $19-49.

Dracula: The Atlantic City Ballet LIVE! at Lakewood’s Strand Theater
On Saturday, Oct 21, 2018, The Atlantic City Ballet celebrated Halloween early with their production of Dracula at The Strand Theatre in Lakewood, NJ.
Ballet, Boxing and Street Dance Gangs?! An Artist Profile of Mark Roxey
Mark Roxey’s been thrown in a garbage can, part of street dance gangs (who knew those were really real?!) and spends a whole lot of time in the boxing gym. He is also the founder and director of the Roxey Ballet Company, associate director of The Mill Ballet School, and has had a distinguished career with numerous American dance companies, including The Joffrey Ballet. You have to hear Mark’s story in our latest artist profile.
Swan Lake: The Atlantic City Ballet LIVE! at The Strand Lakewood
On Saturday, September 22, 2018, The Atlantic City Ballet presented their version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at The Strand Theatre in Lakewood, NJ. Featuring spellbinding choreography by Phyllis Papa, the talented members of the ACB transported an enthusiastic audience of all ages to another world, and Love Imagery was on hand to capture the magic in this photo-essay.
A New Ballet Company Launches At The Shore
Monmouth County has long been a hub for the arts, with a celebrated music scene, thriving original theatre and artists throughout the area, but one thing was missing – the area did not have its own professional ballet company.
Kennedy Dancers Take On Anderson Park
Trust me when I tell you that the Kennedy Dancers do it all. No joke. The company, which is based in Jersey City and was founded in 1976 by Artistic Director Diane Dragone, is a professional dance company (performing all manner of styles), a pre-professional training company, a dance school and a producer of a television show.

Event calendar
Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018


MARCUS KING BAND WITH SPECIAL GUEST IDA MAE @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Gunhild Carling & Friends @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 8:00pm

Toto—40 Trips Around the Sun @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Newark History Society Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan: The Life and Legacy of Newark's Own @ The Chase Room @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 7:00pm

Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 8:00pm

Visiting Writers: Michael Waters @ Wilson Auditorium at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 4:30pm


Seeger @ The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCCArts), Branchburg - 1:00pm and 7:00pm

THE CHOIR OF MAN @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

OPEN Auditions for Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage @ Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood - 7:00pm

Auditions: Cinderella or the Story of Bigfoot @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm

View all events


For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.