Written by Jaimz Dillman
Photos by Chris Bridges
Lucky year 13 has come around for Central Florida's premier victorian storytelling troupe, Phantasmagoria.
The spirits have aligned and the legends have been gathered for this year's spooky mainstage show titled- Poe, Through the Tales Darkly. Director John DiDionna tells us, "This is the first time we've done a show with only one author. We pulled some popular pieces, 3 we've never done before on the main stage, and one comedic horror piece no one realizes is Poe." The group's webpage promises selections from the poet's haunting works told through dance, puppetry, storytelling, and more. A perfect addition to your Halloween-season plans. "We've been lucky every year we've done a Poe piece so he's become a mainstay for us. It's been quite wonderful going through the journey of his tales" said DiDonna.
Click the images to enlarge Featured this year is original music from troupe member Josh Solomon, aka Percival. "Danny Elfman's score for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was actually the very first score that got me interested in the idea while Hans Zimmer's work on Sherlock Holmes inspired me to compose my own work", said Solomon. DiDonna added, "We've been working on this for a better part of a year and it's worked out really well for us. He (Solomon) knows our style, he has his own style, and he worked hand in hand with myself and (choreographer) Ilina. Solomon created six full pieces including four waltzes, a folk Italian piece, a Vivaldi-esque piece, and more! He says, "Getting to compose for a Victorian 'whimsically macabre' show such as Phantasmagoria is truly a solid niche for me." The multi-city tour starts October 6th with 3 nights in Orlando at the Dr, Philips Center which Didonna hopes isn't too affected by losing a week of marketing to the hurricane. As of Sunday evening, DiDonna was still without power, greatly halting his usual widespread posting.
After a 3-year hiatus from Ocala due to the pandemic, the troupe has a double show day October 15th at 2pm & 7pm in the brand new black box theater at the Reilly Arts Center. Tampa is next on October 23rd, and they wrap up in Deland on October 28th and 29th. DiDonna tells us, "We're creating a new set for this show, too. There will be a lot of Easter eggs from past shows. Basically everything from my house will be on the stage. We didn't have to buy anything new!" Other appearances are on the calendar as well including downtown Orlando's Dia de los Muertos celebration, Mt. Dora's Fall Fest at Renniger's Antiques, and Tampa's Spirit Fest.
Looking forward to the holidays, the program has taken on a slight twist to their traditional A Christmas Carol adding The Canterville Ghost to the bill as well. DiDonna said, "It's actually a comic tale. We discover the tragic backstory of the ghost and help him reach his final conclusion. It's a fun piece." For tickets and more information please visit phantasmagoriaorlando.com and follow on social media at www.facebook.com/PhantasmagoriaOrlando