Dracula, Frank Wildhorn's latest musical, will close Nov. 25 at La Jolla Playhouse, but the undead is not dead; Dracula announced earlier that it would arise on Broadway in fall 2002.
In a statement, Michael David of Dodger Theatricals, producers of Dracula's upcoming New York mounting, said, "We are delighted with the outstanding production of Dracula that Des and the creative team have put together at the La Jolla Playhouse. Our partners and the team now agree that with some further development this spring, we will have a truly extraordinary new American musical to present on Broadway in the fall of 2002."
It was not immediately clear if the "further development" meant an out-of-town tryout or private reconsidering of the material. No Broadway cast was announced.
In La Jolla, 2001 Tony nominee Tom Hewitt (The Rocky Horror Show, The Lion King) stars as the vampire count, backwards aging from a 70 year-old Translyvanian in his castle into a handsome 30-something seducing London's beautiful young women. That includes the fiance of Dracula's solicitor Jonathan Harker, Mina and her flirtatious friend, Lucy. Harker is played by Tom Stuart with Jenn Morse as Mina and Amy Rutberg (The Civil War on tour) as Lucy. Also in the cast are Joe Cassidy, Chris Hoch and Lee Morgan as Lucy's suitors, Jack Seward, Arthur Holmwood and Quincy Morris. Tom Flynn (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Who's Tommy) is the vampire hunter Van Helsing. William Youmans (Titanic, Big River) is a former solicitor with Harker's company who is driven mad by Dracula. Dracula is often accompanied by a chorus of vampiresses played by Jenny-Lynn Suckling, Lynnette Marrero, Jodi Stevens and Margaret Ann Gates.
Songs in the score include "Fresh Blood," "How Do You Choose?," "There is a Love," "Prayer for the Dead," "The Heart is Slow to Learn," "Before the Summer Ends" and two romantic ballads for Dracula and his victim Mina, "There's Always a Tomorrow" and "I'll be Waiting for You."
La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Des McAnuff (Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) directs. Mindy Cooper (Titanic) choreographs. Atlantic Records has already promised an original cast recording.
Christopher Hampton (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Savages) and Don Black collaborated on the book and lyrics. Black's previous theatrical experience includes several Andrew Lloyd Webber projects—the Tony Award-winning Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love and Tell Me on a Sunday, the sung part of Song and Dance. He won an Academy Award for the song "Born Free." He and Hampton both worked together on Sunset.
Designing Dracula are John Arnone (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Howelll Binkley (lighting), ACME Sound Partners (sound) and Michael Clark (media).
La Jolla Playhouse is located on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road. For reservations, call (858) 550-1010. La Jolla Playhouse is on the web at http://www.lajollaplayhouse.com.
— By Christine Ehren
and Kenneth Jones