Whistle Lyricist Moves on to Vampires

News   Whistle Lyricist Moves on to Vampires Controversial film director Roman Polanski will direct the Vienna world premiere of the new musical Dance Of the Vampires, which will have music by Jim Steinman and book and lyrics by Michael Kunze.
Left: Director Roman Polanski and and VBW Artistic Director Rudy Klausnitzer in Vienna; Right: The show's logo.
Left: Director Roman Polanski and and VBW Artistic Director Rudy Klausnitzer in Vienna; Right: The show's logo.

Controversial film director Roman Polanski will direct the Vienna world premiere of the new musical Dance Of the Vampires, which will have music by Jim Steinman and book and lyrics by Michael Kunze.

The musical opens Oct. 4, 1997.

This is the first stage musical for which Steinman will act as composer. The former songwriter for rocker Meat Loaf (Bat Out of Hell) wrote lyrics to Andrew Lloyd Webber's music for the aborted Whistle Down the Wind.

This new musical, Dance of the Vampires, is based on a 1967 British film that Polanski directed and starred in, Fearless Vampire Killers or Pardon Me, but Your Teeth Are in My Neck. The movie, which co-starred the late Sharon Tate, is described by film critic Leonard Maltin as a "near brilliant mixture of humor and horror."

According to Polanski, it was "a spoof of countless vampire films from the '30s, ''40s, and '50s in America and the '50s and '60s in England." It details how a bumbling duo attempt to destroy a family of "Slovonic" vampires. Polanski said the film didn't do well at U.S. boxoffices when released by M-G-M "in a horribly butchered studio print" which he disavowed. The film became a huge hit in Europe in the original director's cut. Polanski said that the film has achieved great cult status there, especially in France, Germany, and Austria.

Steve Barton, an American actor/singer from Texas who has an established European career, has been cast in the lead in the stage musical adaptation. Barton, who is fluent in several European languages, is currently starring in Vienna in Beauty and the Beast. He's best known to Broadway audiences for his role as the Vicomte Raoul in the original cast of Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart's The Phantom Of the Opera. Barton later played the title role.

According to Rudy Klausnitzer, artistic director and general manager of VBW (Vereinigte Buhnen) or United Stages of Vienna, rehearsals begin July 21 at the 1,250-seat Raimund Theatre, one of three 1000-plus- seat theatres run by the company.

The musical, which has been written in English, will be performed in German.

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