Arts & Entertainment

Musica Morristown’s Halloween Spooktacular – Thrills, Chills and Shrills!

Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
"Dracula" with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien
Westfield Symphony Orchestra Credits: Sara Carpien

MORRISTOWN, NJ--The eerie castle perched high on a mountain. The traveler paying a visit late at night. Upon his arrival, the creak of a door slowly opening while otherwise silence. The traveler enters to a grand foyer set in gothic architecture and draped in cobwebs. A man in a cloak descends a staircase with black, slicked hair, holding a candle. And, then there it is…his famous line:

“I am … Dracula. I bid you welcome.”

The conductor wields his baton through the air like a sword, thrusting this way and that. The orchestra plays a dramatic piece that sends chills down our spine and we, the audience, are enraptured.

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On October 28, Musica Morristown--a collaboration of the Westfield Symphony Orchestra and the New Philharmonic of New Jersey--lent their music to the 1931 classic movie “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi.

The event took place in the Dolan Performance Hall at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown.

With an orchestra of over 50 musicians, this iconic movie was revamped and brought to life in masterful splendor. The music was “fit second by second to the action of the movie,” said Music Director and Conductor David Wroe.

The idea was to “design a complex symphonic tapestry to create a fantastic mood and atmospheric movie,” said Wroe.

And so they did. With each new scene came the perfect score that created a dramatic backdrop for the film.

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 - Pathétique was performed and linked the thriller directly to the symphony. This piece of music is a “passionate dark, moving, horrifying expose of [Tchaikovsky’s] state at this time,” explained Wroe. He called it a “dark and angst-ridden artistic testimonial of his state of mind during his period of writing this music. The isolation of his own life and the deep medical depression led to his committing suicide. This symphony most laid bare his emotional state of mind. The demons within him are clearly exposed through this piece of music.”

This is not Musica Morristown’s first attempt at infusing pop culture into the fine arts. They have also put on presentations of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera and The Iron Mask, with the idea of  fusing contemporary America with the elegance and sophistication of traditional symphony.

We are “trying to turn the presentation of classical music on its head and convince a new audience to find it much more diverse and entertaining. We believe that once an audience is exposed to this music they will be hooked forever. It’s a new vital and varied way to get people interested in classical music," explained Wroe.

Included in the musical, were excerpts from the following works:

SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”

MOZART Symphony No.25 “Little G minor” (1st movt.)

WAGNER Trauermusic from Gotterdammerung

GRIEG Aase’s Death from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1

LLOYD WEBER The Phantom of the Opera

STRAVINSKY Dance of the Earth from The Rite of Spring

DEBUSSY Nocturnes: Nuages

GRIEG In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1

MOUSSORGSKY Night on Bald Mountain

BERLIOZ Symphonie Fantastique (Finale)

SIBELIUS Symphony No. 7

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 Pathetique

  Adagio Allegro non troppo

  Allegro con grazia

  Allegro molto vivace

  Finale: Adagio lamentoso - Andante

The Halloween Spooktacular was made possible through the generous support of the NJ State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

To learn more about Musica Morristown please visit

For a schedule of upcoming Westfield Symphony Orchestra events, visit

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