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SALT LAKE CITY -- Move over "Twilight" fans, a much more menacing vampire has come to town: Count Dracula is holding court at Pioneer Theatre Company.
Dracula is the original vampire; his character is played by actor Mark Elliot Wilson.
"This is a dream role, you know? You have beautiful women that you're biting and you get to scare kids," Wilson says.
Vampires may be ridiculously exciting right now, but "Edward" is not "The Count."
"In film and TV, you have to be so small and real. This is fun to just be big and bad," Wilson says.
Stephanie Fieger plays Lucy, one of the vampire's beautiful women. She's a TV vampire fan.
"Everybody wants to be a vampire now, I think; or watch them, certainly. I'm a True Blood fan," Fieger says. "To be able to actually get up there and do it, what a trip! What an absolute trip!"
Please be aware that patrons sitting in the first few rows may be splashed with blood! Don't worry: it's not real, and it does wash out easily!
–Warning from Pioneer Theatre
Chuck Morey, who adapted Bram Stoker's novel and is directing the show, says they pulled out all the stops for this one.
"There's a pump that spurts blood 13 feet into the air, and then there's a huge burst of fog," Morey says. "We hope that there's just that great story, that great sort of bedtime story -- scare your pants off and walk out of the theater and look at the full moon and go, "Oh, I hope that wasn't real!'"
Anything but Dracula, they say, is mere imitation.
"I think Stoker tapped into something that exists at a very strange and complex place in the human psyche, which is that intersection where sex, fear of death, hope for immortality all kind of mesh together in an almost inexplicable way," Morey says. "He tapped into something that's very, very potent and it relates back to simply stories of good and evil, of ultimate good and ultimate evil and that's really the essential narrative myth of humankind."
"Dracula" runs through Nov. 6 at Pioneer Memorial Theatre on the University of Utah campus. CLICK HERE for ticket information.