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PORTRAIT OF EVIL

CAST AND CREW

TONY ABRAMS (setup/standby) stood ready to step into the role of any illusion worker or cast member who might fall ill at the last minute or was otherwise incapacitated. Fortunately, there were no such emergencies this year, but Tony’s presence made it easier for the producers to sleep nights.

 

TIM ACKERSON (setup/teardown/set painting) has worked on the crew since he moved to the area in 2000. A friend for over 30 years, he is the only person on the current production (besides the Efrans) to have seen any of the decorated hallways in Rochester that started this tradition of productions.

 

CLAUDE BERNHARD (Monster) has helped with set construction for several years, but his portrayal of a monster with a pliable head is his first onstage role. Claude is a student at Philadelphia’s Central High School.

 

ILENE DYLLER (Augusta Brown) burst upon the scene as Madame DuVive in Séance at Midnight, reprising that role the following year in The Medium and the Message. She served as narrator for The Curse of Anubis, played Adler, the second-in-command astronaut, in 3001: The Shadow Planet, and was Marta, a night watchperson, in Night of the Golem. In last year’s production of The Alchemist’s Elixir, she was Her Majesty, the Queen.

 

DANIEL EFRAN (assistant producer, associate director, scriptwriter) has been involved in all facets of the Halloween productions since 1974, most prominently directing and acting as well as designing and constructing special effects. He starred as the hero in The Lost Temple of the Maya, made a memorable impression as the poignant yet violent Rat Boy in Side-Show Spectacular, and has co-directed and co-written most of the shows since 1988, doing much of the work long-distance, commuting and communicating from Pittsburgh. He has also written original music for several of the shows and has videotaped a number of productions. Sometimes described as having a Cecil B. deMille complex, he was saying things like "All we need is a laser" (eventually borrowed from a physics lab for Space Pod) long before lasers were readily available for a few dollars at Staples.

 

ELSA EFRAN (associate producer) is primarily responsible for candy, catering, costumes, critiquing, crowd control, data, editing, errand running, graphics, painting, papier-mâché, publicity, research, supplies, and last-minute odds and ends. She is still hoping that someday there will be a Nobel Prize for gofers.

 

JAY EFRAN (producer, director, scriptwriter) has been involved in stagecraft and magic since his youth. Little did he know that turning brown wrapping paper into "rocks" in order to create a witch's cave in a hallway in Rochester, New York, in 1968 would lead to masterminding more than 30 years of Halloween productions. He is legendary for resurrecting a number of arcane ways of making people and objects appear, disappear, emit smoke, and burst into flames—often simultaneously.

 

FRANK FARRELL (teardown) contributed boundless energy to the process of striking the set and restoring the performing space to pristine condition. A few days later, Dr. Farrell completed his Counseling Psychology doctorate at Columbia University.

 

RICH GENGA (illusioneer) has constructed a number of magical devices for various productions. Last year he contributed the parchment frame through which Edward Fuller burst. This year he fashioned the gold-leaf frames for the pictures. His wife, Pam Genga, ably assists him.

 

MARY HARRIS (Emily Gault) is a local Mt. Airy resident who wears many hats in her professional life: oriental rug shop owner, psychotherapist, college instructor, and home renovation specialist. After a long hiatus from acting, Mary was delighted to make her debut with the Efran Entertainment Group this year, and she loved kicking the monster's butt twenty times a night.

 

ROB HOLAWAY (illusion worker) joins our staff this year for the first time. When he isn’t being the bloody hand at the window, he is a doctoral candidate in Temple University’s Clinical Psychology program.

 

SUZANNE McMURPHY (setup/teardown) has been a stalwart member of the crew for the past five years. Her calming presence and efficiency has smoothed the process of striking the set and storing props for future seasons.

 

TONY POLIAFICO (illusion worker) joined the company this year, enabling some of the backstage magic to happen. Tony is completing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Temple University.

 

MIKE REMSHARD (set construction) began his career with the company doing sound effects for Aladdin's Dream; the following year he stepped onstage as the Peasant Boy in The Enchanted Forest. Two years later, he again assisted backstage, this time preparing chemical effects forRite of the Undead. After several years in the Midwest, he returned to play Zito, a nightwatchperson, in Night of the Golem.

 

JORDU SCHELL (monster design) created the Talking Head in 1985 and made memorable masks for Aladdin's Dream, The Curse of Anubis, and Side-Show Spectacular. For 3001: The Shadow Planet, he designed, constructed, and operated the Alien. A year later he designed and helped build the Golem creature. A native of Mt. Airy, he regularly returns from California—where he designs creatures for the movies and teaches sculpting—to assist with Halloween shows and enjoy the changing of the seasons.

 

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