Friday, May 26, 2006

Undead: Live!

Is there a vampire musical curse? That seems to be the consensus view in NYC after the producers of Elton John/Anne Rice's Lestat announced it was closing on Broadway after a mere 39 performances... As I wrote yesterday in the Post:
While Dracula and his ilk have been the subject of many a best-selling book and blockbuster movie, the undead have repeatedly sucked big time when they've tried to break onto Broadway. In 2004, Dracula the Musical, an adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel with music by Frank Wildhorn, was unbeloved by critics and closed after an unprofitable five-month run. A year earlier, Dance of the Vampires, based on the Roman Polanski film The Fearless Vampire Killers, was an even bigger flop, closing after 56 performances.
Up here in Canada, however, it's a whole other story:
Canadians have shown an almost insatiable appetite for the genre. Dracula -- A Chamber Musical, with music by Marek Norman and lyrics and book by Richard Ouzounian, premiered at the Halifax's Neptune Theatre in 1998 and had a popular run at the Stratford Festival the following year. It has since been performed at the Charlottetown Festival.

Then, this past winter, Dracula: Entre l'amour et la mort (Dracula: Between Love and Death), a new musical comedy starring Bruno Pelletier, was a critical and popular success in Montreal. With lyrics by Roger Tabra, music by Simon Leclerc and -- again! -- Richard Ouzounian as the book writer, the musical is on a year-long tour with stops at the Grand Theatre in Quebec City in June and Ottawa's National Arts Centre in August.

Add to those hits the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's globe-trotting production of Dracula -- choreographed by Mark Godden and later turned into an International Emmy-winning film by director Guy Maddin and it seems clear that the so-called curse of the vampire musical stops at the 49th parallel. Does this have something to do with our long, sun-less winters?
The more you know.

3 comments:

Cinerina said...

Dracula: A Musical Nightmare by John Aschenbrenner and Douglas Johnston is a marvelous show, loved by all who see it or produce it; it has never been published and gets around by word of mouth and fan-love - Aschenbrenner is trying to kill it altogether and it's the ONLY good Dracula musical in the world! It is a curse. Also they say the name of the Scottish play in it. Coincidence?

The Big Dog said...

Aschenbrenner never tried to kill it. It was killed by Gregory Boyd of the Alley Theater in Houston who threw his support behind a hack like Wildhorn and his moronic Dracula. Aschenbrenner was and still is, a genius, and maybe someday the idiots in the American Theater will wake up and really do this greatest of Dracula theater pieces. A unknown classic...how sad it has been lost through negligence.

pianoproducts said...

Why does everyone blame composer Aschenbrenner for the fate of that show? Is it lost? Can it be done? Too many rumors....I heard he quit composing and lives in the woods and won't talk to anyone. Can't blame him, the peice belongs on Broadway, not the junk they do now. Ah, America