On Oct. 31, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre opened its 2019/2020 season with the world premiere of “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors.”  It’s an amazing new play commissioned by the Maltz and written by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen.  Kudos to the Maltz.

The play runs through Nov. 10.  Single tickets start at $62. For tickets and show times, call 561-575-2223 or visit www.jupitertheatre.org.  Don’t delay. According to Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato the run is selling out quickly.

The evening’s laughter started when Kato, appeared on stage in a Halloween witch costume and pale white makeup.  To be honest, he looked more like my very prim great grandmother than a cauldron stirring hag. Sorry Andrew.  He made the various announcements and thanks and mentioned that Act 1 of the “Believe Capital Campaign,” a redesigned parking facility, had been completed over the summer.  Much applause and the play began.

Under Greenberg’s direction, a cast of five actors plus two life-sized puppets made merry with the characters that haunt Bram Stoker’s novel.  Changes of personalities and costumes were blindingly fast and while the pace was almost frenetic it was rare that one actor stepped on another’s lines so the audience could keep pace with the punch lines as they flew by. 

The audience was immediately drawn in by the visual and verbal humor.  There were over-the-top double entendres, physical contortions approaching slapstick, and facial expressions that would do a girn practitioner proud.  There was an ongoing titter of amusement in the house as different sections of the audience “got” the jokes taking place on stage.  These were punctuated by full-scale guffaws as many of society’s shibboleths of the day –and dare I say even of our day - were exposed.

The cast of seasoned actors includes Paul Carlin (Mina Westfeldt/Dr. Jean Van Helsing),  Peter Simon Hilton (Jonathan Harker/Suitors), Wayne LeGette (Dr. Westfeldt/Renfield/Captain), Mallory Newbrough (Lucy Westfeldt/Kitty/Driver), and Jared Zirilli (Dracula). 

As we were leaving the theater, many people, including my husband, commented on how handsome Zirilli is.  He is. Now imagine him in full vampire drag, bringing a cake to a party. There are plenty of incongruities like that throughout the play.

The creative team includes Ashley Rae Callahan (wig and makeup design), Victoria Delorio (composer and sound design), Rob Denton (lighting design), Skyler Fox (illusions design), Caite Hevner (scenic design) and Tristan Raines (costume design).

“Developing new works like ‘Dracula:  A Comedy of Terrors’ is the dream of all regional theaters across the country,” said Kato in his column in “Footlights.” “Not only are we contributing to the landscape of American theater, but when the work leaves Jupiter to its next production it will carry along with it the name and reputation of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre.” 

We can only hope that the next theatre to produce “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” can find the talent to do it justice and reach the bar the Maltz has set.