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"Wait Until Dark" Lead Character Appropriately Played by Blind Actor

Outline: Wait Until Dark is the first show of the busy 13th season of dramas comedies musicals and the Youth Theatre annual show.

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For more than half a century, "Wait Until Dark" audiences have been riveted, breath held, nails bitten, as they watch blind Susy Hendrix terrorized by violent criminals in her home.

When Dionysus Theatre's production of Frederick Knott's 1966 thriller opens Oct. 9, that edge-of-your-seat tension dramatically escalates with accurate casting: In the role of Susy is actor Marquia Banks, who happens to be blind.

Casting actors with disabilities along with able-bodied actors is a specialty of Dionysus Theatre, 5601 S. Braeswood, and Dionysus Theatre is the only theater in Texas to do so.

"Wait Until Dark" is the first show of the theater's busy 13th season of dramas, comedies, musicals and the Youth Theatre's annual show - this year, "True Confessions of a Bully" - touring schools from Galveston to San Antonio.

"One of the joys of being in Dionysus is they cast correctly. The character Susy is blind, and so am I. I can bring nuances to this role," said Banks, 27, a Heights resident, Houston Community College junior and Dionysus Theatre actor since the theater's founding 13 years ago.

Kingwood resident and the show's director, Raymond Deeb, said it's a joy to direct such hard-working, enthusiastic actors, and that the audience is in for a suspenseful, satisfying ride.

"This show will terrify and entertain audiences, and they will leave the show with a smile on their face," Deeb said.

"It's fun to watch the actors try to deal with the scenes in the dark. I have no problems," Banks said. "There're humorous moments, too, as the actors try to deal with the dark. But it became an educational moment - and I was the educator. Another cool Dionysus moment."

"Wait Until Dark" is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9, 14, 21, 23 and 28, and at 1 p.m. Sunday matinees Oct. 10, 17 and 24. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $10 each for groups of 10.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.dionysustheatre.org, or call the theater at 713-728-0041.

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