Il primo musical scritto da Elton John con Bernie si è rivelato probabilmente come il maggior flop nella lunga carriera di Elton. Infatti, dopo un debutto, con critiche abbastanze negative nell'autunno del 2005, a San Francisco, è approdato a Broadway , al Palace Theatre , il 25 aprile 2006. Ma dopo sole 33 preview e 39 rapprersentazioni regolari lo spettacolo è stato definitivamente sospeso. Anche a Broadway, nonostante alcune modifiche dopo il test di San Francisco, le critiche erano state veramente negative e la risposta del pubblico non era stata incoraggiante. La Warner Bros detentrice dei diritti aveva investito 15 milioni di dollari nell'impresa. E' tratto da tre racconti di successo della scrittrice Anne Rice (New Orleans, 1941), il primo, Intervista Con Il Vampiro (Interview With The Vampire, 1976), seguito da Scelti Dalle Tenebre (The Vampire Lestat, 1985) e da La Regina Dei Dannati (The Queen of the Damned, 1988), il cui protagonista è il vampiro Lestat de Lioncourt, noti anche come The Vampire Chronicles che in parte sono già stati trasformati in film di successo. "'Intervista Con Il Vampiro è uno dei miei liberi preferiti e Anne Rice è uno dei miei autori preferiti," aveva già dichiarato Elton in passato. "Sebbene ci sia voluto parecchio tempo per mettere insieme questo progetto, credo fermamente che abbiamo la squadra giusta.Il Vampiro Lestat è il primo musical che ho scritto con Bernie e ciò lo rende molto speciale per me." Il progetto di un musical tratto dai racconti della Rice risale a molti anni fa, ma per vari motivi non se ne era mai fatto niente. Anne Rice, dopo aver ascoltato i primi demo: "Ne ho ascoltate alcune interpretate da Elton John grazie a un CD che mi ha inviato, ed erano perfettamente corrispondenti al più profondo messaggio dei romanzi, coglievano perfettamente il significato dell'oscurità dei miei libri… erano splendide. Ho avuto la possibilità di discutere personalmente con Elton John e con Rob Roth, il regista, e l'intero progetto mi ha elettrizzata". Elton ha composto musica per orchestra di stampo classico, e infatti ha dichiarato: "Non vedo come potesse entrarci la musica moderna senza suonare ridicola, quando ho visto le parole scritte da Bernie, ho pensato che non potesse essere assolutamente un'opera rock. Doveva essere classica: queste sono musiche complesse, complicate". Bernie, dal canto suo ha dichiarato: "assegneremo al vampiro un aspetto più umano. Non sarà tutto croci e tombe. Sarà uno spettacolo cupo, ma sexy. Niente clichè, niente eccessi gotici". La sceneggiatura è di Linda Woolverton già autrice pluripremiata della versione teatrale di The Lion King e Aida. Dopo la sospensione a Broadway il destino del musical se non è già segnato, è sicuramente messo in forte dubbio perchè è difficile pensare che possa essere rappresentato in altre piazze importanti, come può essere Londra. E' una produzione molto costosa ed è probabile che venga abbandonata al proprio destino, anche perchè Elton preferirà dimenticare e cancellare dalla memoria un insuccesso di queste proporzioni. Resta da vedere se ci saranno conseguenze per il futuro artistico di Elton, dopo che anche l'album Peachtree Road aveva ottenuto delle vendite mondiali molto scarse. Nel maggio 2006 il cast ha registrato l'album che doveva essere disponibile nel successivo luglio, ma il progetto è stato bloccato e per il momento non è ancora arrivato sul mercato.
Supportiamo il cast di Lestat affinchè venga pubblicato il disco!
From The Dead
Sail Me Away
Make Me As You Are
I Want More
I'll Never Have That Chance
Welcome To The New World
After All This Time
The Crimson Kiss
Right Before My Eyes
To Kill Your Kind
The Origin Of The Species
To Live Like This
Act 1 - Finale
Lestat Main Theme
il 6 maggio 2003 a New York
"The only project
on my agenda presently aside from my art (new exhibition
later in the year) is Lestat with which I am over the moon. It is without a
doubt one of the most thrilling projects I have ever been involved with, and
something that I truly believe is going to go down as one of our greatest
achievements. I'm so very proud of everything we have achieved so far: the
songs are simply amazing, the book has a depth and poetry far beyond the
usual lame Broadway stereotype and all this married to a production that is
both revolutionary and groundbreaking. It is in my mind above and beyond
what people may expect from this material. The best part of all is that it
is our show, which means I get to work in every facet of its development
from casting to every angle of the production. Beginning next year it will
start to take over my life completely - and I can't wait."
LESTAT ON BROADWAY: In a word: magnificent!
The New York premiere of LESTAT was April 25th, 2006.
I’m overjoyed to report that I was there on opening night, stunned and amazed, and I’m eager to tell you just exactly what I saw.
But let me say this first: I didn’t really create the character of Lestat de Lioncourt. He lives and breathes in some nine different books that I wrote. But how he came to be is truly something I can’t explain.
So if I write here about Lestat as if he was somebody else’s baby, there’s a reason for it. He’s been out there on his own from the start.
Yes, he was based on my husband Stan -- on Stan’s vigor and beauty, on Stan’s will and Stan’s courage. And my son, Christopher, has grown up to be Lestat, and that’s a puzzle that commands respect.
Yet Lestat is my alter ego, lover, muse and the unabashed hero of my crippled, genderless soul. I’m in love with the guy. I prowl the world looking through his eyes from time to time. For decades, there was nothing I couldn’t express through Lestat’s voice.
So when a production captures Lestat perfectly as this unique and thoroughly original musical by Elton John and Bernie Taupin has done, well, I can’t mumble about it, feigning humility. That would be pointless. I’m too enchanted, too intoxicated, too frankly thrilled.
Now back to what happened on the stage of the Palace Theater in New York last week.
After years of anticipation on my part, I saw the curtain rise, and who should be there but my hero, complete and entire from the first second, so fully realized that I am on the verge of tears. Hugh Panaro was a giant as he moved around the stage with the grace of a panther. His voice was lustrous and immense as he sang Elton John’s rich, melodic and truly glorious music. Bernie Taupin’s brilliant lyrics got right to the point. In essence, Lestat put it out there: I’m young, I’m strong, I’m you! -- and I’m gonna die!
Why do I say this when my hero is an immortal? When the “theme” of the musical is that he will live forever? Because we are all both mortal and immortal, creatures locked in time, yet conceiving of eternity, and that is what the play was most certainly about.
I knew instantly the production was a triumph; and to the final curtain it never let me down. In those first few moments there was an explosion: here was the bravery, the skill, the power -- to deliver a true adaptation of something I’d somehow managed to unearth in my long and frantic excavations of the mind.
Effortlessly and briskly the musical moved the hero into the presence of Carolee Carmello as Gabrielle, Lestat’s mother, and with astonishing power this actress worked a curious miracle, wringing a depth from that character which was beyond what I myself had ever understood. Yet this was Gabrielle -- and this was Gabrielle and Lestat together. At once they transcended the mother and son bond; the alchemy of metaphor was unleashing a muted fury. These were any two people who had loved each other unselfishly and yet with total and consuming need. The heat was white. The audience was spellbound. You could feel the exhilaration in the theater. The great bursts of applause had begun.
And we were traveling swiftly into an alternative world in which our most pedestrian concerns and our greatest anguish could be confessed and examined to their very roots.
The night went on like that, with surprise after surprise, depths yielding to depths, with members of the audience often in tears.
Roderick Hill was vulnerable, seductive and heartbreaking as Lestat’s boyhood friend Nicolas. Allison Fischer brought down the house as the child Vampire Claudia, a woman trapped forever in a little girl’s body, unschooled in compassion, yet steeped in pain. Jim Stanek was the embodiment of Lestat’s tragic grief-stricken partner, Louis. As the arch antagonist, the Satan of Lestat’s trials, Drew Sarich was deeply engaging and mystifyingly sympathetic. Marius, the ancient one, came to quiet strength in the person of Michael Genet, offering Lestat wisdom instead of despair.
Every voice in the ensemble was tremendous, flexible and shamelessly gorgeous; song after lovely song broke forth. The plot, direction, story, and staging all moved with irresistible timing thanks to the genius of Rob Roth and Linda Woolverton -- until we were at last awakened by the final curtain from a hypnotic spell. I didn’t want this to end. I wanted to be with my beloved Lestat. A celebratory joy had gripped the theater. I’d witnessed a triumph all right. It was one of the happiest nights of my entire life.
Of course the entire concept of the musical is romantic in the finest sense of that word. It’s deliberately over the top.
Lestat is the essence of the romantic man of sensibility, privileging his insight and his will to survive over the voices of authority that would relegate him to the realm of the damned. In him, the vampire is a metaphor for the outsider in all of us, the predator in all of us, the alienated one and the rebellious one, the being who wants to live forever and yet be held tightly in some one’s loving and forgiving arms.
The show is about redemption because the characters won’t give up on it. It’s about transcending in any way that you can.
To create a musical this pure and this committed to the big questions is to fly in the face of the weary world at every turn.
How dare you talk frankly about good and evil in an operatic context, one might ask. How dare you mention the name of God? How dare you present characters who care whether or not God exists and what He thinks about us and our suffering? And above all, how dare you affirm that heroes can and do rise to articulate our worst fears and our strongest longings? How dare you do all this in a consummately entertaining and frankly beautiful piece of work?
LESTAT makes no concessions whatsoever to cynicism, irony, or camp. The ambition and the achievement are enormous here. The character and the play reach directly for the heart of the audience and will settle for nothing less.
Is it any wonder that every song is a show stopper? That cries accompany the exuberant clapping over and over again? That standing ovations greet the final bows? You leave the theater grateful for the nerve that went into this work knowing that you will never be able to fully analyze how and why these strange, eccentric and extreme characters changed your soul.
It’s a long road from Epidaurus to the Palace Theater. New dramatic forms have dazzled us and will continue to do so. But only the stage can make the magic I saw in LESTAT. Only living human beings coming together for a certain uninterrupted span of time in which they act, and sing, and pour their hearts out, can achieve this wondrous feat.
That’s what I saw and felt on Tuesday April 25th, 2006 at the premiere of this musical. There’s no doubt in my mind that readers far and wide will love it and embrace it, no doubt that Lestat has moved from literature to legend in a divine theatrical incarnation in my own time.
Questo è il team che ha prodotto LESTAT:
ANNE RICE - autrice dei libri da cui il musical è ricavato(
ELTON JOHN - musica
BERNIE TAUPIN - testi
LINDA WOOLVERTON - sceneggiatura
ROBERT JESS ROTH - regia
MATT WEST - musical staging
DEREK McLANE - coerografia
SUSAN HILFERTY - costumi
KENNETH POSNER - lighting designer
JONATHAN DEANS - sound design
DAVE McKEAN - visual concept design
TOM WATSON - acconciature
RICK SORDELET - fight director
TODD ELLISON - arrangiamenti vocali
GUY BABYLON - supervisione musicale/orchestrazione
STEVE MARGOSHES - orchestrazione
BRAD HAAK - direzione musicale/arrangiamenti
JOHN MILLER - coordinamento musicale
HOWARD WERNER/LIGHTSWITCH - coordinamento del progetto
JAY BINDER, CSA/MARK BRANDON - casting
BONNIE L. BECKER - production stage manager
J. PHILIP BASSETT - stage manager
KIMBERLY RUSSELL - assistant stage manager
SAM SCALAMONI - direttore associato
CYNTHIA ONRUBIA - associate musical stager
ALAN WASSER - organizzazione generale
JUNIPER STREET PRODUCTIONS - supervisione tecnica
BROS. THEATRE VENTURES - produzione
IL CAST PER IL
MUSICAL DI ELTON JOHN "LESTAT"
Questo era il cast del musical scritto da Elton John "Lestat", che ha debuttato il 27 dicembre 2005 a San Francisco, prima dell'arrivo a Broadway. Il ruolo del protagonista è stato affidato a Hugh Panaro, conosciuto per la sua interpretazione del "Phantom of the Opera" a Broadway. Con lui Carolee Carmello (star di Mamma Mia!), Jack Noseworthy, Jim Stanek, Roderick Hill, Michael Genet e Allison Fisch. Il musical è ispirato ai romanzi di Ann Rice (Intervista col vampiro, Lestat il vampiro). Lo show era prodotto dalla Warner Bros che faceva così il suo ingresso anche nel mondo del teatro. Le parole sulle musiche di Elton John sono state scritte dal suo coautore "storico" Bernie Taupin. Il Libretto è di Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, Aida), la regia di Robert Jess Roth (Beauty and the Beast).
da Playbill del 24 marzo 2006
di Kenneth Jones
the curtain goes up on the first Broadway preview of the Anne
Rice-inspired musical Lestat March 25, what's on
stage will represent lessons the creative team learned from its recent
San Francisco tryout.
Composer Elton John, lyricist Bernie Taupin, librettist Linda Woolverton and director Robert Jess Roth, along with Matt West, credited with musical staging, will refine the work further with their cast in the weeks leading to the April 25 opening night. (The first preview coincides with Sir Elton John's 59th birthday.)
As previously reported, choreographer Jonathan Butterell (The Light in the Piazza, Nine, Fiddler on the Roof) has been enlisted to give his perspective on the staging. Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, making its producing debut on Broadway, brought Butterell onto the project as a little extra insurance that the show would be in shape. (He is not credited in the Playbill.)
The San Francisco company remains intact for Broadway (with some additions), featuring Hugh Panaro as the title vampire (the musical is drawn from Rice's gothic novels under the umbrella "The Vampire Chronicles") and Carolee Carmello (Mamma Mia!, Parade) as Gabrielle, Drew Sarich as Armand, Jim Stanek as Louis, Roderick Hill as Nicolas, Michael Genet as Marius and Allison Fischer as Claudia. Lestat's cast of 16 features Rachel Coloff, Nikki Renee Daniels, Joseph Dellger, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Sean MacLaughlin, Patrick Mellen, Chris Peluso, Dominque Plaisant, Megan Reinking, Sarah Solie, Amy Sparrow, Will Swenson, Steve Wilson and Tommar Wilson.
Lestat reunites the legendary pop songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, who are collaborating together on a legit musical for the first time.
Lestat had its world premiere Dec. 17, 2005-Jan. 29 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco.
Collaborators Woolverton, West and Roth were on the creative team of Broadway's hit Beauty and the Beast.
Lestat is Elton John's third musical for Broadway following The Lion King and Aida. He also wrote songs for the smash London musical Billy Elliott, which has yet to be announced for a Broadway bow.
The changes to the script and score are "radical," Elton John told Playbill's Harry Haun.
"I just finished writing another two songs for Lestat," John said in February. "One's called 'My Beautiful Boy,' and one's called 'Right Before My Eyes.' Like with Billy Elliott, I wrote an extra song quite late in the day, and we left some songs out. And that's par for the course when you're a composer for a musical. You kinda have to leave your ego at the door and see some songs you really like bite the dust and you have to write some other ones because, in every show, the story changes."
Is the plot different since San Francisco?
"The storyline has certainly changed in Lestat � and it's still changing in Billy Elliott, to be honest with you," John said. "That's still going on. We're just trying to sharpen it up and make it better. And I think that's the way a musical has to keep going. Otherwise, you don't keep it fresh, and it becomes stale. But when you're actually working on a musical and it hasn't actually opened yet, you want to get it as good as it can be. You're working on it right up to the eleventh hour. And that's what we'll be doing with Lestat, with the two new songs�"
John explained, "'My Beautiful Boy' is done by Lestat's mother, Carolee Carmello, and 'Right Before My Eyes' is done by Lestat, Hugh Panaro."
(The Playbill for the first preview lists "Beautiful Boy" and "Right Before My Eyes" as musical numbers in Act One.)
How has the show changed since San Francisco?
"I think the first act we'll radically change," John said. "I think something will change in the second act�the opening in New Orleans will be much more ensemble than it was before. And there are more ensemble pieces being put into the first act. Two new songs. New beginning. New ending. It's quite radically changed. The beginning of Billy Elliott changed about 10 days before the opening of the show. That seems to be the way musicals work. It's an evolutionary process."
John isn't writing pop songs for Lestat � it's a more complex process than that.
"Lestat I found to be particularly draining because the songs are much longer, more complex than anything else I've ever written, and I really enjoyed the process of writing Lestat," he said. "They�re much more wordy songs. It's much more serious subject. You're writing about a vampire, and you're writing about a more complex situation than you normally would. Billy Elliott is a '70s pastiche, and it's very straightforward. It's political, but it's very straightforward. Here, yourre writing stuff that's coming from the 19th century and its historical base as well so you've got to get the music. It's 180 degrees away from Billy Elliott. I've never done anything like this before. Never. I think it's my finest piece of work as far as writing for the stage goes."
How is the score different?
"Different because there are no electronic instruments in it," John said. "I wanted it to be like that. It's totally organic, in a way. We may have to use a couple of synthesizers to emulate string sounds because the actual score is quite huge�and we just can't afford to have that kind of orchestra on Broadway.
"For me, it's not rock 'n' roll whatsoever. I mean, it changes in the second half, when it goes to New Orleans�and a little New Orleans music creeps in. But, generally, it's totally different from Aida and Billy and Lion King. I don't really see the point of doing something, one after the other, if you're not going to do something different."
On the topic of the two failed vampire shows � Dance of the Vampires and Dracula � that came before Lestat, John told Playbill's Harry Haun, "I didn't see the musicals so I can't judge what they were like, but we did [go] into this, saying there are going to be no dancing vampires and no garlic. We tried to stay about from the cliched version. But you can't be bothered by what everybody else has done. It is a difficult subject matter. We know that's a challenge. The others didn't do very well, but we're just concerned with what we're doing."
Here's how the producer bills Lestat: "The romantic and heartbreaking story of the extraordinary journey of one man who escapes the tyranny of his oppressive family only to have his life taken from him. Thrust into the seductive and sensual world of an immortal vampire, Lestat sets out on a road of adventures in a quest for everlasting love and companionship but is forced to reconcile his innate sense of good with his primal need to exist."
John and Taupin represent one of the great marriages of pop
songwriting. They started working together in the 1960s, and their hits
include "Candle in the Wind" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."
Now, they are turning to a new form for them: Musical theatre rather than pop albums. Think of their new team-up as "together again for the first time."
"Elton and I have threatened for years to work together on something for Broadway but until now had never found anything that appealed to both of us collectively or suited my own personal writing style," Taupin said in production notes. "We have unified [the Anne Rice] books into a linear storyline and our intention is to make a stylish, sexy, intelligent and richly hypnotic show that is stripped of gothic clichés and that shows the vampire dealing with his damnation on a more realistic and human level. Please let me make this clear this is not a rock opera."
"This musical is the fulfillment of my deepest dreams," said author Anne Rice, in a statement. "Elton's music and Bernie's lyrics have captured the pain and the passion of the characters perfectly, and the entire adaptation has re-created the very essence of the books. Working with the whole team � Rob Roth, Linda Woolverton, and of course Elton and Bernie � has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire career. The talent, the brilliance, and the generosity of these folks is beyond belief. I'm humbled; I'm grateful; and I'm so excited that I can hardly stand it. Lestat, Louis and Claudia are about to be reborn."
Elton John said in production notes, "'Interview with the Vampire' is one of my favorite books and Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors. Lestat is the first stage musical that I've written with Bernie which makes it even more special for me."
"Anne had always loved the idea of seeing her 'Vampire Chronicles' set in some sort of serious and seductive musical setting and for all of the parties involved this is the opportunity of a lifetime," stated Taupin.
The creative team includes scenic designer Derek McLane, costume designer Susan Hilferty, lighting designer Kenneth Posner, sound designer Jonathan Deans, visual concept designer Dave McKean, wig and hair designer Tom Watson, make-up designer Angelina Avallone, fight director Rick Sordelet and projections coordinator Howard Werner.
Lestat has orchestrations by Steve Margoshes and Guy Babylon, with musical supervision by Guy Babylon, musical direction, incidental music and additional vocal arrangements by by Brad Haak, and vocal arrangements by Todd Ellison.