Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor is a one-of-a-kind Halloween-themed extravaganza onstage at ACT Theater right now. The show features all the standard-issues scary creatures like witches, werewolves and mummies. But this totally original tale is packed with all kinds of campy surprises.
"It's like a haunted house - things coming at you from different places, throwing you off, keeping you on your toes," says Richard Andresen, who wrote the music for the show.
Andresen, known by his stage name "Major Scales," also plays Baron Von Gaylord in the show
"You're gonna see a lot of high-camp performances, storytelling - you're gonna see some fantastic dance by some of the most amazing dancers," said Andresen.
Ben Putnam, also known as his drag persona BenDeLaCreme, penned the script. He also stars in the show as protagonist Patricia "Patsy" Jejune. The story starts like a horror movie cliche; when a pair of paranormal researchers and a beautiful woman are trapped in a haunted mansion overnight.
But according to Putnam, this show skewers traditional story lines.
"We have sort of a lesbian love story at the center of it," he said. "We skewered a lot of these ideas - my character begins as sort of the traditional screaming and running damsel in distress ."
In another gender-bending twist, Mandy Price plays Dr. Dudley Doddington .
"He's pretty pompous, so I really enjoy playing him," said Price. "As the show goes on, he discounts the women more and more 'til it becomes sort of a parody of misogyny."
Beneath the fancy costumes and funny dialogue: a message.
"The central metaphor in this show is the idea of ghosts and haunting," said Putnam. "The ideas we're told as young people - you either shake them off or choose to give in to them."
Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor runs through October 29 at ACT Theatre. For tickets, click here.