Descendant ‘POEssessed’ by Celebrated Writer

Jennifer Carno
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Yes, local actor Edgar Allan Poe IV is related to the famous American writer. In fact, he is the great-great-great-grand nephew of the poet and teller of lurid tales. In accordance with that, yes it is his real name.

Poe IV is now appearing in the Fremont Centre Theatre’s West Coast Premiere of his show “POEssessed.”

The premise of the show is that Edgar Allan Poe I’s spirit possesses Poe IV’s body and proceeds to defend his tarnished reputation, while at the same time reading from his well-known writings like “The Raven” and “Tell-Tale Heart,” to the lesser-known “A Dream.”

“Well, I’ve always had this do a Poe show, for obvious reasons,” said Poe. “Plus, plenty of my thespian friends had suggested it, but I’d whine `no I don’t wanna do a Poe show’.[but] when Jeff Jerome, who is the curator of the Poe house in Baltimore, saw me play Poe on `Sabrina the Teenage Witch” he called me up and asked if I could do a Poe show for the annual birthday celebration,” the actor said.

“He was happy to finally have a real actor play Poe at the celebration,” said Poe IV of Jerome’s invitation to do a Poe show. The show went over very well, and Poe has since been praised for his acting and Poe renditions. He can also be caught playing Poe I in Henry Selick’s “Monkey Bone,” starring Brendan Fraser.

However, Poe IV (“Edgar to phone solicitors, and Allan or Al to friends”) has done more than just Poe readings. During the summer he played Mulleady in the Pasadena Shakespeare Company’s critically acclaimed production of Brendan Behan’s “The Hostage.” He has also performed in movies and plays.

But he wasn’t formerly trained as an actor. “I was an English major at the University of Miami.[and decided] to follow the path of least resistance,”he said. “Acting seemed to be what I did best.”

After college and while living in Miami he also sang for a swing band called Al Poe and the Beefchunks. They covered songs ranging from “St. James Infirmary” to “Is You or Is You Ain’t My Baby” and on to “Minnie the Moocher.”

Not only does he make a living as an actor, but he is also a family man. He has a wife, Xinyi, and together they have a 4-year-old son, Edgar Allan Grainger Poe (who goes by Grainger).
“POEssessed” can be seen at the Fremont Centre Theatre located at 1000 S. Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena, one block west of Fair Oaks. It runs Sundays at 7:30 p.m. through December 9. There will also be a special Halloween show on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Parking is free. For tickets and reservations, call the box office at (626) 441-5977.