Madmann's Playground in the press:
Last Call Theatre
Nov 9, 2023 - The Captivating Seduction of Van Helsing's Dracula
"Van Helsing’s Dracula ultimately left us feeling as though we had been captivated and beguiled by a modern, vampiric banquet and performance. In terms of its story, the abstract and queer retelling of Dracula provided a sense of wonder and continued curiosity.
... Our biggest surprise was exactly how seductive the show would be -- and lifting our glass in a final toast at the end of the performance, we found ourselves fully won over."
All About the Stage
Nov 8, 2023 - Review: Van Helsing's Dracula
"Madmann’s Playground production delivers one hell of a magnificent show. They tossed aside the formulaic depiction of Count Dracula and shaped him into a cleverly, modern time female boss. It works damn well."
"Madmann’s Playground’s VAN HELSING’S DRACULA is a unique immersive circus dinner experience that can be enjoyed as a night out alone, or with friends, or a wonderful date night that is sure to wow a partner."
Nov 4, 2023 - Review: Dining with Dracula at Madmann's Playground
**Scroll beneath the interview for the full review**
"To fans of traditional Gothic Horror, rendering Bram Stoker’s immortal vampire in a circus-dinner theatre production with an all-female cast may seem an eccentric choice, and yet Van Helsing’s Dracula emerges as a sophisticated synthesis of poetry, dance, and amazing aerial artistry. Backed by a mesmerizing live score, the intensely physical performances are choreographed almost like a ballet, and the story is rendered in deceptively archetypal duality (Purity/Corruption, Love/Lust, etc.), which hides a deeper complexity beneath the surface....
Telling this sanguinary story in swanky setting with circus acts sounds contradictory and even self-defeating, but it makes sense when you realize that but Van Helsing’s Dracula is aiming for a sort of lush, macabre artistry – think Cirque du Soleil by way of Anne Rice – and the aerial work serves a narrative purpose roughly analogous to songs in a musical. In this case, however, the drama builds to emotional moments that are expressed visually instead of verbally – a sort of athletic aria that ascends physical heights instead of sweeping up the notes of a scale. Thus, these seemingly contradictory elements coalesce into a fascinating female spin on the Dracula story, which is ultimately about learning to embrace one’s inner vampire – what Jung called “The Shadow Self."
“Inside the Vatican Banquet Hall’s castle-like exterior and fog-filled middle-of-the-room runway interior stage, it’s not hard to envision the longtime struggle between the Van Helsing family of vampire hunters and the Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula, playing out. Only here, the classic tale also happens amid aerialists, acrobats, ballerinas, musicians and plate-spinners."
NoHo Arts District
Oct 31, 2023 - Van Helsing's Dracula theatre review
“Van Helsing’s Dracula is absolutely one of the most extraordinary and enjoyable evenings of theatre I have ever had. In Los Angeles or anywhere. This is the beginning of a movement that Sarah Mann and her Madmann’s Playground production company intend to create. A place for artists like these to perform timeless and inspiring stories with their words and their music and their bodies."
Oct 13, 2023 - Radio Interview: Pacifica Performance Showcase October 13, 2023 at 2:30pm
PACIFICA PERFORMANCE SHOWCASE, arts & culture to enlighten, enliven and educate with host Donna Walker, covers the best in film, theatre, music, and the arts.
Madmann's Playground Founder and CEO speaks about Van Helsing's Dracula, opening on Oct 21, 2023 with Donna Walker and Julio Martinez.
Oct 13, 2023 - THIS IS HALLOWEEN 2023: OUR ANNUAL LA GHOUL GUIDE
"Madmann Playground’s Production brings a sexy twist to Van Helsing’s Dracula, with its immersive circus dinner theater premiering on Oct. 21 at Vatican Banquet Hall. An original sapphic spin on the gothic tale of vampires and vampire killers, it features an all-female cast of accomplished circus performers, dancers and actors, plus a three-course meal curated around the show’s narrative."
Oct 7, 2023 - Interview: Dining with Dracula at Madmann's Playground
"With Van Helsing’s Dracula, producer Sarah Mann revamps the classic tale into an immersive circus-dinner-theatre experience.
Here is something different. Not only does Van Helsing’s Dracula offer a new spin on an old story; the very format of the show is pretty much unprecedented in Los Angeles. We have dinner theatre, and we have had a paranormal circus or two, but circus and dinner theatre combined – with vampires? The Southland’s closest comparison is Vampirates dinner theatre in Buena Park, which includes an aerial act among its stunts and action; even with its circus-like atmosphere, however, no one would mistake that for an actual circus.
Filling this circus-dinner-theatre void is Madmann’s Playground, a company launched last year by Sarah Mann. Van Helsing’s Dracula is its debut, with four performances scheduled this October and November at Vatican Banquet Hall in Van Nuys. The experience features elaborate circus acts backed by live music, while the audience enjoys a three-course Romanian-style dinner."
Oct 4, 2023 - Van Helsing's Dracula
"Sarah Mann is the founder of Madmann’s Playground, a production company created to promote and produce works around the unique and diverse talents of the Los Angeles circus community... Her latest project, “Van Helsing’s Dracula” is her biggest project yet and over the seven-year journey it took to get to this point, Sarah has involved many of her friends and even her father, Grammy Award-winning composer Hummie Mann in this utterly original and groundbreaking show.
Not only is “Van Helsing’s Dracula” an adaptation of one of the most fascinating and intriguing stories of our time, it was important to Sarah to create something fully immersive for her audience. Since drinking each other’s blood was a step too far even for L.A., it seemed that serving authentic Romanian food would be the next best thing. To that end, Sarah partnered with Anne Apra Events whose expertise in developing highly researched and accurately themed menus was the perfect foil for this iconic and transportative show."
Sept 25, 2023 - Check Out Sarah Mann's Story
"Madmann’s Playground is a company where performers of all talents, writers, composers, chefs, and mixologists can come together and create a unique, immersive experience for food lovers and performing arts supporters. As an added bonus, Madmann’s Playground aims to provide a home for circus artists, who so often have to leave Los Angeles to find regular work."
NoHo Arts District
Sept 2023 - Van Helsing's Dracula - Press Release
"Madmann's Playground's production of 'Van Helsing's Dracula,' an immersive circus dinner theater experience, will have its world premiere for four performances only starting October 21 at Vatican Banquet Hall."
Sept 16, 2023 - New Halloween Theatre: Vampire Circuses & Angels of Light
"The story is a Sapphic take on the Dracula featuring an all-female cast of actors, dancers and circus performers. Admission includes an elaborate menu with themed entrees such as Romanian Paprika Roast Chicken and Hungarian Hot & Sweet Paprkash Ghiveci (vegetable stew)."
"Actor, poet, and performance artist Katie Rediger has crafted a provocative legacy of sultry appearances and intrigue as part of her work with Spy Brunch (Safehouse ’77 & ’82) and featured appearances at the long running The Toledo Show in Santa Monica.
Sensuality is a core part of Rediger’s artistic practice, and that’s the case with Van Helsing’s Dracula, a “sapphic spin” on Bram Stoker’s tale that Rediger has crafted with writer Corrin Evans and director Sarah Mann of the circus arts troupe Madmann’s Playground. The show is a circus arts powered reframing of the classic vampire tale of desire, anchored by a three-course meal that aims to invoke just what might have been served at Dracula’s castle.
In this edition of the i5, Rediger shares what’s she’s learned as part of the development process of multiple experiential events."
Sept 9, 2023 - NoPro's Sppoky Season Spectacular Newsletter for 2023
"Dinner parties are a theme this year it seems... Billed as a 'poetically sapphic interpretation of the classic tale' and featuring what promises to be an elaborate 3 course Romanian-style menu designed by Chef Anne Apra alongside Madmann's Playground's circus arts troupe, Van Helsing's Dracula is an original story written by veteran immersive performer Katie Rediger (Safe House '77) and Corrin Evans."
LA Stage Insider
"Madmann's Playground's production of 'Van Helsing's Dracula,' an immersive circus dinner theater experience, will have its Premiere for four performances only starting Oct 21 (6-9pm) at Vatican Banquet Hall, located at 6913 Van Nuys Blvd in Van Nuys."
"He is currently working on a Teatro ZinZanni-type dinner theater project that will be performed in Los Angeles in October. His daughter is the producer."