Dodger Theatricals, Clear Channel Entertainment and Nederlander Presentations will give wing to a fall 2002 Broadway mounting of the new musical, Dracula, a current hit at the La Jolla Playhouse in Southern California, it was announced Nov. 13.
Composer Frank Wildhorn and lyricist-librettists Don Black and Christopher Hampton created the new show, under the direction of Des McAnuff, who will also helm the Broadway staging. The source material is the Bram Stoker yarn about an undead European vampire who shows up in England.
The sold-out, extended engagement ends at the La Jolla Playhouse Nov. 25. McAnuff won two Tony Awards for staging Big River and The Who's Tommy, respectively. Wildhorn is the adored-by-fans composer of Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War, which have all played on Broadway and the road.
Book and lyric credit is shared by Academy Award and Tony Award-winner Don Black (Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love) and Tony Award-winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard, Les Liaisons Dangereuses).
In a statement, Michael David of Dodger Theatricals said of the Broadway confirmation, "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 cast was announced. Designers are John Arnone (sets); Catherine Zuber (costumes); Howell Binkley (lighting); ACME Sound Partners (sound). Orchestrations are by Michael Starobin, with musical direction by Constantine Kitsopoulos.
The staging has been praised for its lush score, sexy bloodsuckers, the cast's acrobatics (yes, they fly) and for the special effects that help heighten the thrill of the terrifying supernatural romance.
According to the La Jolla program, the show has various locales: "Time and Place: Transylvania, the seacoast village of Whitby in England, the cities of London and Budapest, and across Europe aboard the Orient Express at the end of the Victorian era, just before the dawn of the 20th century."
— By Kenneth Jones