DraculaThis story first appeared in the October issue of 519 Magazine, available at more than 300 locations in Southwestern Ontario.

Windsor theatrical and musical nerds Taylor Lavigne and Mike Karloff are bringing Dracula to the stage like never before in a new musical comedy called Raise The Stakes, which opens at the Olde Walkerville Theatre in Windsor on October 18.

The story is a re-telling of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula, but with a lot more humor and a lot less restraint. In this tale, it turns out that the count is a homosexual who prefers the affection of Jonathan rather than the traditional love affair with Mina.

“There are many themes in our show that will resonate with many different groups,” Taylor explains to 519 Magazine. “We want to make people laugh, but also consider what lies beyond the humor. We present themes of mental health, homosexuality, acceptance, gender stereotypes, empowered women, and so much more. We want to use comedy and parody as a tool for discussing real world issues.”

The story is told through the eyes of four quirky gargoyles that sit atop Dracula’s castle. They watch as their house master struggles to be understood and accepted as the gay undead vampire he really is. The show contains many of the original Dracula characters, as well as some new ones like Pookie, a tap-dancing man-bat.

“The story of Dracula has been told many times,” Taylor says. “I sought to bring the show into the modern era by incorporating elements of pop culture and classic music theatre tropes. I wanted to re-invent these characters in a way that was relevant in 2018 but also familiar. I think audiences will connect with our cast on many levels beyond just humor.”

The musical has been rated R for adult content and sexuality.

“Dracula, in almost all incarnations, exudes sex,” Taylor notes. “He is as sexy as he is deadly and I believe that to tell this story properly we absolutely needed to keep the sexual energy alive. Beyond that, we wanted to create a show that holds nothing back. The humor is in your face (often literally) and unapologetic. I believe that everyone needs the opportunity once and awhile to let go, have a drink, and laugh at a dick joke. Our show delivers on all accounts.”

Raise The Stakes runs at Olde Walkerville Theatre in Windsor on Oct. 18 to 21 and Oct. 25 to Oct. 27. Tickets are available at oldewalkervilletheatre.com.

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