Looking for a creepy way to celebrate Halloween? See Dracula: Death of Nosferatu this weekend

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: LAURA BARTROFF - Dracula, played by Jeremy Howard, prepares to bite Mina Murray, played by Annie Parham, in Oregon Children's Theatre's Young Professionals Company.Just in time for Halloween, Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Young Professionals Company will offer up a treat in “Dracula: Death of Nosferatu” in the OCT Black Box Studio.

The show features Lakeridge High School sophomore Stephanie Roessler as Professor Van Helsing, Jeremy Howard as Count Dracula and Annie Parham as Mina Murray. It’s the classic horror story that has held audiences spellbound for the past century.

The production is based on the book by Bram Stoker and includes a haunting blood-thirsty vampire, spine-tingling horror and romance. In this production, Professor Van Helsing arrives at Whitby Insane Asylum to help Mina Murray — a most puzzling patient — and finds her troubles are greater than anyone could imagine.

“This is a horror show,” Roessler said. “My character, Professor Van Helsing, discovers that Mina is being attacked by a vampire. It’s my job to figure out how to kill Dracula.”

Roessler said the production is suitable for brave 10-year-olds and up, because it is a bit scary.

“We get to use fake blood, and the choreography and fight scenes are really technically good,” she said. “Dracula has fangs and bites Mina’s wrist — it’s really fun!”

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: LAURA BARTROFF - Above: Professor Van Helsing, played by Stephanie Roessler of Lakeridge High School, considers how to kill Dracula (Jeremy Howard).
As Van Helsing, Roessler plays a much different character than she has before, and she and the rest of the cast had to learn to speak with British accents. She is aptly prepared for it, however, as she concentrated on Shakespearean roles at the Youth Music and Arts Camp at Willamette University this past summer.

“This is a real growth opportunity for me,” she said. “And I really like working with the different kids in the cast. Mina and Dracula are older and more experienced actors.”

Parham is a senior at Cleveland High School, where she sings in the “A” choir and Cleveland Dairies. She has studied at OCT and Northwest Children’s Theater and has performed in several shows, including “Cyrano,” “Chamber Music” and “A WWII Radio Christmas.” She has been a member of the Young Professionals Company for four years.

Howard is playing Dracula for the second time in his career. He recently played the same role in a Theatre in the Grove production. Last year, Howard was the directing apprentice for OCT’s “Storm in the Barn.” He was last seen at Magenta Theater as Tony Kirby in “You Can’t Take It with You” and John Day in “Life with Father.” He will join the cast of “WWII: Radio Christmas” this December. In the spring he will originate the role of Thomas in OCT’s world premiere of “Gathering Blue,” and he’ll play Chip Tolento in Catlin Gabel High School’s 25th annual “Putnam County Spelling Bee.” This is his seventh and final year with the Young Professionals Company.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: LAURA BARTROFF - Jeremy Howard, Annie Parham and Stephanie Roessler appear in OCT's Young Professionals Company's production.James Sharinghousen is a Portland-based actor who is making his directorial debut with OCT. Years ago, he performed with the Young Professionals Company as Eeyore in “Winnie-the-Pooh.” He recently acted in “Avenue Q,” “Gracie, “Irish Curse” and “The Big Bang” with Triangle Productions.

He performed in “Cabaret,” “Oklahoma!” and “Fiddler on the Roof” with Clackamas Repertory Theatre, as well as “At Home at the Zoo” with Profile Theater and “Cloud 9” with Vertigo Theatre. He will perform as Toad in OCT’s spring production, “A Year with Frog and Toad.”

Sharinghousen has another talent: He designs really spooky haunted houses.

Roessler said the play’s set is very believable.

“It’s really helpful to get director’s notes from someone who scares people for a living,” she said.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO  - 'Nosferatu' is a classic 1922 German horror film that was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula.'Throughout the rehearsal period for “Dracula,” Roessler has become increasingly interested with the horror genre. It’s fun to watch horror movies and get lost in the technology, she said: “I watch them and wonder ‘how do they make it look so real?’”

She said audiences should prepare themselves for a good scare.

“I hope they come and are creeped out,” she said. “I hope we are convincingly scary. It’s ‘Dracula!’ It’s gotta be scary!”

“Dracula: Death of Nosferatu” opens today and continues through the weekend. Showtimes are 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 to $10 in advance online at and $7 to $12 at the door.

Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Black Box Studio is located at 1939 NE Sandy Blvd. in Portland.

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