Helen Schneider, one of Germany's leading musical stars, will not appear in the upcoming open-air tour of the musical Dracula. After ten days of rehearsals, she developed a severe case of gastritis and has flown the United States for medical attention, it was announced on May 7. An unnamed substitute has been found to assume the role of Mina Murray in time for the premiere in Hannover on June 12.
Miss Schneider, widely-acclaimed for her portrayal of Norma Desmond in the Wiesbaden/Niedernhausen production of Sunset Boulevard, was to play opposite Uwe Ochsenknecht's Count Dracula. Ochsenknecht is an actor who was catapulted to prominence via the Doris Dorries film Manner.
Dracula is a production initiated by impresario Franz Abraham, better known for his presentations of the Rolling Stones and Formula 3 auto races. Together with productions of Aida and Carmina Burana, it will tour major arenas in Germany and Austria thru September 4. Each production will share a monumental stage and pyrotechnical effects similiar to large rock events.
Abraham's musical collaborator for this project is Klaus Doldinger, the creative force behind the group Passport. Doldinger has released over 100 albums in his career and has composed countless film scores, the most famous of which is perhaps Das Boot. For Dracula, Doldinger has assembled a potpourri of classical quotes and pop effects to accompany the action. For example, in the morgue the Count will play Bach's Toccata in D minor, reminiscent of the Phantom's music-making.
Performances of Dracula are scheduled for Hannover on June 12, Vienna on June 20, Munich on June 26, Dresden on August 1, Wiesbaden on August 8, Dusseldorf on August 8, Berlin on August 22 and Hamburg on September 4. --By Scott Lawton