BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
OFF BROADWAY REVIEW
One of my resolutions for 2011 is to review shows more concisely. Time flies and attention spans are shorter than ever.
So let's swiftly hammer a stake through "Dracula," a rotten incarnation of the 1927 vampire thriller by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston that materialized Wednesday at the Little Shubert Theatre.
Anybody with fond memories of the late 1970s Broadway revival that famously starred Frank Langella and later on Raul Julia particularly should avoid director Paul Alexander's inept production. In place of Edward Gorey's spidery stage designs, Dana Kenn's homely settings oddly suggest a community theater effort and the generally amateurish performances confirm that impression.Veteran actor George Hearn resolutely depicts the doughty Dutch vampire-slayer, Van Helsing, as a stern old soul but even he becomes mired in the two-hour show's sluggish staging and so-so special effects that feature a bit of wall crawling by John Buffalo Mailer's cheerfully deranged Renfield.
Looking like a lightweight Fabio as Dracula — certainly more toothy than fanged — a hollow-cheeked Michel Altieri sports a vaguely Italian accent and long, flowing tresses as he stiffly stalks Emily Bridges' statuesque Lucy. As for the rest of Alexander's misguided company — why waste your time in reading about their futile attempts to make this dear old bat of a melodrama fly?
"Dracula" continues through March 14 at the Little Shubert Theatre, 442 W. 42nd St., New York. Call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.draculaonstage.com.