About This Blog

I really like theatre, and I like writing and talking about it.

This blog is mostly about my relationship with theatre, the moments that make me fall in love with this art form, and the times when we don't always get along.

I'll be writing about things that I like, that I think are good and interesting and want to share. I will probably also write about things that I don't quite get, or think are wierd. I may also write about things that aren't theatre, strictly speaking, because it's my blog and I can.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dance of The Vampires

I'm going to start with Dance of the Vampires, as it was the first in a chain of bloodsucking failures in the last decade, and also it was a notable flop at the time it premiered on Broadway.

It's also noteworthy because the show had already enjoyed great success in Austria and Germany for several years before going to Broadway, and continues to play there to this day. There's an interesting connection to the German theatre scene that you'll notice across the next few posts.

It's always best to start at the beginning (and continue on until you come to the end, then stop). So this story starts in 1967 with Roman Polanksi's horror-comedy film The Fearless Vampire Killers.

The original musical version actually premiered in 1997 in Vienna, Austria. The German lyrics are by Michael Kunze, and the music was written by Jim Steinman, best known for his work with Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler (think big ol' power ballads). As a matter of fact "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is actually in Tanz Der Vampir, as a love duet for the leads.

However, they massively re-wrote the Broadway version so that it  turned into this mish-mash of sensuous gothic romance (I suspect in an attempt to cash in on "Phantom" success) and Mel Brooks style parody. It was like two different shows which were incredibly at odds with one another. The results looked something like this:

After a prolonged development period and 61 previews, the show finally opened, was trounced by critics, ran for 56 performances, and then closed, losing a crapload of money.

The show is still running successfully in it's original version in Europe; if you're ever in Stuttgart, you can see it for yourself. As far as I know there is no cast recording of the Broadway version, but you can download the Austrian cast album on iTunes. 

EDIT: I was poking around the website for the current production in Germany, and I found a nice video of the show I thought I'd share. Check it out!

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