Hugh Panaro Is Lestat in Broadway-Bound Elton John-Bernie Taupin Musical; Full Cast Unveiled

News   Hugh Panaro Is Lestat in Broadway-Bound Elton John-Bernie Taupin Musical; Full Cast Unveiled
 
The new Elton John-Bernie Taupin musical Lestat will star Hugh Panaro in the title role, with Carolee Carmello, Jack Noseworthy, Jim Stanek, Roderick Hill, Michael Genet and Allison Fischer, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures announced Aug. 23.

Lestat stars Hugh Panaro (laying) with Carolee Carmello and Jack Noseworthy
Lestat stars Hugh Panaro (laying) with Carolee Carmello and Jack Noseworthy Photo by Paul Kolnik

The musical inspired by the vampire characters of novelist Anne Rice is the inaugural Broadway production of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures (Gregg Maday, executive vice president). The world premiere of the musical — which has book by Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, Aida), lyrics by Taupin and music by John (The Lion King, Aida, Billy Elliott) — will be at San Francisco's Curran Theatre Dec. 17-Jan. 29, 2006, followed by a Broadway run.

Robert Jess Roth (Beauty and the Beast) directs. Matt West (Beauty and the Beast) will create musical staging. John and Taupin's pop songs from the 1970s are beloved by a generation. This is their first stage score.

According to the producers, and as previously announced, "Lestat, Anne Rice's most celebrated and beloved literary character…" The musical "is 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."

"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."

"'Interview with the Vampire' is one of my favorite books and Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors," stated composer John. "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 lyricist Taupin. "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. We have unified these 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."

Lestat's cast of 16 features Rachel Coloff, Nikki Renee Daniels, Joseph Dellger, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Megan Reinking, Drew Sarich, Will Swenson Steve Wilson and Tommar Wilson.

The creative team in includes scenic designer Derek McLane, costume designer Susan Hilferty, lighting designer Kenneth Posner, sound designer Jonathan Deans, visual concept designer David McKean, and hair designer Tom Watson.

Lestat has orchestrations by Steve Margoshes and Guy Babylon, with musical supervision by Guy Babylon, musical direction by Brad Haak, and vocal arrangements by Todd Ellison.

For fans of the books, the character breakdown is Carmello (Mamma Mia!, Parade) as Gabrielle, Noseworthy (Sweet Smell of Success) as Armand, Jim Stanek as Louis, Roderick Hill as Nicolas, Michael Genet as Marius and Allison Fischer as Claudia.

Hugh Panaro is one of the long-running stars of Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera.

The <i>Lestat</i> company: (clockwise from left) Jim Stanek, Michael Genet, Roderick Hill, Hugh Panaro, Allison Fischer, Carolee Carmello and Jack Noseworthy
The Lestat company: (clockwise from left) Jim Stanek, Michael Genet, Roderick Hill, Hugh Panaro, Allison Fischer, Carolee Carmello and Jack Noseworthy Photo by Paul Kolnik
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