Published On: Fri, Oct 25th, 2013

GVT hosts Blood Drive

Looking hail and hearty - and unsuspicious, Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester was the first to step up to prove he was not “a bloodless politician,” as gorgeously costumed “vampires” consider draining him. By the end of the day 15 donors had participated in the blood drive held on Oct. 21, benefiting the American Red Cross hosted by Greenbrier Valley Theatre in honor of Dracula: A Rock Opera. On hand (or neck) was Scott Sowinski portraying Dracula; in the role of Lucy Westenra is Hannah McGinley; Erin Whitcomb portrays Dracula’s primary prey Mina Morris; and Haley Burns is in the role of Dracula’s first wife. (Photo by Robyn Zimmerman)

Looking hail and hearty – and unsuspicious, Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester was the first to step up to prove he was not “a bloodless politician,” as gorgeously costumed “vampires” consider draining him. By the end of the day 15 donors had participated in the blood drive held on Oct. 21, benefiting the American Red Cross hosted by Greenbrier Valley Theatre in honor of Dracula: A Rock Opera. On hand (or neck) was Scott Sowinski portraying Dracula; in the role of Lucy Westenra is Hannah McGinley; Erin Whitcomb portrays Dracula’s primary prey Mina Morris; and Haley Burns is in the role of Dracula’s first wife. (Photo by Robyn Zimmerman)

On Oct. 21, a blood drive benefiting the American Red Cross was hosted by Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT) in honor of Dracula: A Rock Opera. “We thought this would be a great opportunity to partner with the American Red Cross,” said Nathan Gwartney, director of marketing with GVT. The blood drive was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the theatre. As an incentive to encourage people to donate, Greenbrier Valley Theatre gave two free tickets to each blood donor.

“Blood giving is the great equalizer,” says Scott Hill, coordinator for the American Red Cross team centered in Roanoke. “We encourage everybody to give blood because every two seconds someone in the US has a need for donated blood.” The Southern Regional division of the Red Cross serving the Appalachian region collects 8,000 units of blood a year.

Vampire actors were in costume during the blood drive to highlight the partnership with the Red Cross and the need for blood donations. Costume designer Jenna Fawn Brown spent six months researching, designing and putting together the 32 pieces of “steampunk” inspired costumes, which she said is best defined in the illustrative artwork of John Coulthart (look him up). Steampunk is defined as a mix of mad scientist/ inventor/baroque styling blended with the Victorian era/industrial revolution of steampowered airships.

Dracula: A Rock Opera’s original songs were composed by director John R. Briggs and Dennis West. The music feels as if it could fit easily into the landscape of classic rock of such bands as Styx, Pink Floyd, or even The Who. However, the music and style of the show is more directly inspired by opera, as the plot is conveyed primarily through song. Performances will run from Oct. 25 through Nov. 16. For more information, call the GVT Box Office at 304-645-3838.