No capes, no crosses, and definitely no tap-dancing vampires. Longtime musical collaborators Elton John and Bernie Taupin are planning to bring The Vampire Lestat to Broadway, and they promise a production free of gothic excess. "It will be dark, sexy, and scary, but that doesn't mean it has to be cliché," Taupin said at a news conference Tuesday to announce the show.
The project, based on the character from Anne Rice's novels, is the first production from Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and is scheduled to hit the stage in 2005. John already has two productions on Broadway, the Disney hits Aida and The Lion King. (John has also announced intentions to turn the film Billy Elliot into a stage musical.) This is Taupin's first effort.
"Bernie and I have been huge fans of Anne Rice's books for a long, long time," John said, adding that the New Orleans-based author supported the project and has heard and approved of the music that has been composed so far. "She's totally in the loop," he said. "She's totally on our side." Aside from John, the production features others with Disney connections. The book is being written by Linda Woolverton, who wrote the stage production of Beauty and the Beast, and the show will be directed by Robert Jess Roth, who was nominated for a Tony award for his direction of that Disney production.
John said he expects all of the content--music, lyrics, and book--to be completed by the end of September and hopes to have a read-through in November. The collaborators said the musical would be based on three Rice novels--Interview With the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned--with emphasis on the first two. John said the music he is composing is for an orchestra and will have no electronic components or other modern sounds, since the books' settings are from a couple of hundred years ago. "I didn't see where any modern music could possibly come in without sounding ridiculous," he said.
When asked who could play Lestat, John said that whoever it is will have to have charisma--but most important, will have to be able to sing. "My main concern is finding people who can sing the songs properly," he said.