Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your production, Dr. Zomba’s Ghost Show of Terror, will soon be debuting as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the show’s premise and format?
David Blake Lucarelli: Ghost shows were an extremely popular live show that peaked in the 1950s: a spooky, funny, scary magic show with a séance and an immersive “blackout” sequence at the climax where the audience is in total darkness, surrounded by supernatural phenomena they can see, hear, and feel! It’s kind of a lost art, but we went back and studied the ghost show manuals and came up with a few new tricks of our own, and we’re bringing it back for 5 spine-tingling shows!
BD: As the writer and producer, what inspired you to bring this production to life, and how did you originally become aware of the 1950s-style “Ghost Show?”
DBL: I stumbled on a fascinating book on the subject, Ghost Masters, by Mark Walker, and being a monster kid, Halloween lover, and haunt fan, I wanted to see one in person. But almost no one is still doing them, so I realized the only way to see one was to write a ghost show and put it on myself!
BD: You have a fantastic cast and crew involved with the project! What can you share with us about the creative process of working with the team and bringing the show to life?
DBL: We are extremely lucky to have the people we do as part of the production. David M. Beach was actually hand picked at one time to be the successor to one of the hosts of perhaps the greatest ghost show, Doctor Silkini’s Ghost Show. That didn’t end up happening, but his unique talents as an actor, comedian, magician, ventriloquist, and juggler are all being used in the role of Doctor Zomba!
Kerr Lordygan who plays Ear-Gore and I go way back to playing in the same metal band in college. But beyond that, he’s an award-winning actor, director, and playwright.
Tamara Torres (Sirena) is a dancer and actress whose work has been featured in film, television, and commercials.
Alessandro Martinez is a horror and fantasy writer who is making his stage debut as Dracula, a role he was born to play!
Our director Kevin Wetmore is Professor and Chair of Theatre Arts at Loyola Marymount University and an expert in stage combat. You can be sure we put those skills to good use in the show!
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show, and should theatregoers anticipate audience interaction?
DBL: We’re jamming 90 minutes of spooky fun into a 40-minute show. One lucky attendee will win a real dead body! If you love haunted houses, TV horror hosts, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this is the show for you. Lots of campy horror, and at the climax there is the immersive blackout sequence, where the audience will be surrounded by ghosts and monsters from beyond the grave!
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Dr. Zomba?
DBL: The Ghost Shows were in some ways the last vestige of vaudeville, and in other ways, like the blackout sequence, way ahead of their time in terms of immersive experience. We’re reviving a lost art that both nods to the past and is still on the cutting edge of theater today.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Flight Theatre @ The Complex Hollywood from June 2-23, 2018. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
DBL: If the show is a hit, we’d love to bring it back around Halloween time.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
DBL: Tinseltown #2 from Alterna Comics, my period crime drama about one of the first female cops in Hollywood, hits your local comic shop on May 30th. Issue one was the number one selling book for Alterna in April. If you local comic store is sold out, you can order Issue #1 from alternacomics.com.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Dr. Zomba’s Ghost Show of Terror?
DBL: Tickets are on sale now. Go here to buy them and use discount code “fanbase” to save $3 off each ticket! To learn more about the history of ghost shows, you can check out these two articles here and here.
*Cast photo: (Left to right: Alessandro Martinez, Kerr Lordygan, Tamara Torres, and David M Beach)