This fall will be the 10th anniversary of Lisa Starry's A Vampire Tale, the cult classic that Starry and her troupe have taken to Edinburgh and back as of this summer. Over the years there have been more than a few changes to the production, as Starry's tweaked her choreography from season to season to create the piece so many Valley dance and art fans know and love today.
In addition to a new scene in this year's rendition, this will be the last season in which attendees can watch David Starry, Lisa's husband and a dancer in the company, perform the lead role of Victor, the vampire king.
Those familiar with the show will know that David Starry has partnered with Nicole Olson, who plays Queen Vampire, since the show's inception a decade ago. Now, Starry says he'll be retiring, because a dancer's body only lasts so long. He'll still be a part of the production crew for Scorpius Dance Theater and may continue to make appearances in A Vampire's Tale, though in character roles only.
For this season the role has been dual casted. David will split time with returning Scorpius Dance Theatre company member Billie-Joe "J." Bouey.
For the most part, Lisa says she leaves the details of each character to be interpreted by the dancers; it's another reason the show is always changing. And, as David explains, he's always played Victor as a stoic, callous character who emotes almost exclusively through movement. Some of that he's passed on to Bouey. Some of the nuances will be left to Bouey to develop into his own version of the bloodsucking vampire king.
In a way, it's pure luck that Lisa tapped into the vampire trend 10 years ago. That was long before pop culture latched on the idea of vampires as sexy creatures of the night (thank Twilight and True Blood and Vampire Diaries and... well, you get the picture). She says she's always been into the idea of the undead, in part because she grew up watching '80s vampire flicks like The Lost Boys and The Hunger. And several years before she first staged A Vampire's Tale, she performed in Center Dance Ensemble's rendition of Dracula. While she liked the idea, she wanted to wait to do something original and her own.
Over the years the show's developed from a 35-minute show that was "dark" and "serious," in the choreographer's own words, into a two-hour production known for juxtaposing sexy, fluid dance with quirky comedic moments. Lisa says she hopes to turn the show into a film one day. In fact, A Vampire Tale is based on her script.
"I love it," she says of the show. "I had dreams, but I had no idea this is what it would become."
In this year's show she's effectively removed the popular Disc scene; she felt the prop was limiting choreography-wise. Instead, audience members can look forward to a new aerial pole dance scene with guest artists Chase Jarvis and Lindsay Green. The new piece will also include an original musical score by local composer Kristofer Hill. New company member Alexis Stephens will perform the role of Eve, and the narrator role of Strange Man will be shared by A Vampire Tale newcomer Damon Dering of Nearly Naked Theatre and returning guest actor Eric Boudreau of Childsplay.
A Vampire Tale's tenth anniversary season begins Thursday, October 10, at 7 p.m. All shows will be held at the Phoenix Theatre's Little Theater. Tickets begin at $25, and prices go up closer to the show. They can be purchased on the Phoenix Theatre website.
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The complete schedule:
Thursday, October 10, at 7 p.m. Friday, October 11, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, October 12, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, October 17, at 7 p.m. Friday, October 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, October 19, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version to correct the dates and times of performances.