|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2015)|
Opening Night Playbill cover
|Basis||The Vampire Chronicles
by Anne Rice
|Premiere||December 17, 2005 – Curran Theatre, San Francisco|
|Productions||2005 San Francisco
Lestat is a Broadway musical inspired by Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles. The score is by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, book by Linda Woolverton and directed by Robert Jess Roth with musical staging by Matt West. Scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by Jonathan Deans, visual concept design by Dave McKean, and hair design by Tom Watson.
The show was directed by Robert Jess Roth. The title role of Lestat was played by Hugh Panaro, and starred Carolee Carmello as Gabrielle, Drew Sarich as Armand, Jim Stanek as Louis, Roderick Hill as Nicolas, Michael Genet as Marius, and Allison Fischer as Claudia.
The pre-Broadway version of the Lestat musical was very different from the New York version of the Lestat musical. Even though it was the highest-earning pre-Broadway play in San Francisco history (beating out Wicked and Cats), the company had drastically revised the play. The San Francisco version, performed at the city's historic Curran Theatre during the final months of 2005 and early 2006, had far more elaborate stage effects and production values and included projected images illustrating the main character, Lestat's, story.
The Broadway version of Lestat was more interpretive and used fewer projections; it also cut quite a few plot elements. The song "Right Before My Eyes" was inserted. "In Paris", a duet sung by Nicolas and Lestat, was replaced by a number called "In Paris Sequence," which expanded the original "In Paris" lyrics to include Lestat's first arrival in Paris and his first sight of Nicolas's work at the theater. Gabrielle's solo "Nothing Here" was changed to "Beautiful Boy." The play-within-a-play at the Vampire theater was changed from the number "Origin of the Species"—which explained the legend of King Enkil and Queen Akasha—to "Morality Play," which treated the relationship between Armand and Marius. The revision completely scrapped any references to The Queen of the Damned; later in previews, Queen Akasha and King Enkil were cut from the show completely. The Broadway version played from March 25, 2006 to May 28, 2006 at the Palace Theater for 33 previews and 39 performances.
Lestat's parents argue and to defend his mother, he strikes his father. Gabrielle (Lestat's mother) convinces Lestat to go to Paris to live with his friend Nicolas. Lestat doesn't want to abandon her, but he ends up going. She thinks of how lonely her life will be without him, although she is happy he is free ("My Beautiful Boy").
Lestat finds Nicolas working as an actor in a small theater, happy with his life ("In Paris"). Nicolas is a violinist and tells Lestat he has been disowned after leaving school to study music. They go to Nicolas' flat and it becomes clear they're in love with each other ("The Bugs and the Bears"). An offstage voice keeps calling "wolfkiller". Intrigued because Nicolas can't hear it, Lestat follows the voice and is attacked by a vampire named Magnus. Magnus makes Lestat a vampire and informs Lestat that nothing can end his life except fire or the sun. He then lights a fire and makes Lestat promise to scatter his ashes when he's dead. Magnus dies, leaving Lestat very confused about his new nature ("The Thirst"). Unable to control himself, Lestat takes his first victim and yells at God for not stopping him.
Ten years later, Armand tries to seduce Lestat, who almost surrenders but ends up beating Armand and ordering him to disappear from his life. Armand returns to Paris. Gabrielle enters, talking of a wonderful wild place she had been exploring. Lestat angrily asks why had she taken so long to return.
Lestat follows Marius's advice and goes to the New World, where he meets and falls for a young self-destructive Creole, Louis ("Welcome to The New World"). Lestat offers him The Dark Gift. Louis agrees, and Lestat makes him a vampire. Time passes, and Louis and Lestat live in a beautiful town house. Lestat arrives, telling a funny story from the opera, but Louis interrupts with a lot of moral questions. Lestat, tired of this discussion, tries once again to make his partner embrace the vampiric nature ("Embrace It"). Louis says he's leaving. Lestat takes a walk and finds a sick little orphan girl who asks him for help. He makes her a vampire and takes her home. Louis is horrified, but agrees to stay and raise Claudia with him.
Lestat's legs are broken. The dawn approaches, and he can't stand. Once again, he talks to God, asking what He wants from him, and saying that he accepts what he is, that he's evil and that he's sorry. Lestat prepares to be burned by the sun ("Sail Me Away" (reprise)), but Marius arrives with Gabrielle, and they insist that he can stand. With a lot of effort and pain, he does ("Crimson Kiss" (reprise)). Marius allows Lestat to drink from his wrist.
Broadway opening cast
- Lestat (tenor) – The protagonist, a young Frenchman whose life we follow as he attempts to make his way in the world after unwillingly becoming a vampire. Lively and confident, though also sometimes selfish, but with the best of intentions.
- Gabrielle (mezzo-soprano) – Lestat's mother, who urges him to leave home and make a life in Paris. She later becomes his first fledgling and companion. Strong and free-spirited.
- Nicolas (baritone) – An actor and violinist in Paris who is Lestat's dear friend (and love-interest). He is pure and good-natured.
- Armand (tenor) – The leader of the underground coven in Paris later to become the Theater of the Vampires, who desires revenge against Lestat for breaking up his coven. Vindictive and manipulative.
- Louis (tenor/baritone) – A depressed plantation owner in New Orleans who becomes Lestat's somewhat unwilling companion in the New World. As a vampire, he is tormented by his conscience. Often quiet and melancholy.
- Claudia (soprano) – An orphan child made into a vampire by Lestat, in order to keep Louis from leaving him. She harbors anger towards Lestat for robbing her of her mortal future. Begins as a demanding young girl, but over time develops a grown woman's mind.
- Marius – "The Ancient One", the oldest of the vampires. Wise but eccentric.
- Magnus – Lestat's maker, who goes into the fire shortly after choosing his heir.
- Laurent – A vampire of the Theater.
Ensemble: Vampires of Armand's coven/the Theater of the Vampires, Parisians, people of New Orleans.
The Original Broadway Cast Recording was recorded by Mercury Records on May 22, 2006 and was produced by Guy Babylon and Matt Still. After the show's closing however, Elton John's management stated "there are no plans to release the recording at the present."
Awards and nominations
2006 Tony Awards
- Best Featured Actress in a Musical – Carolee Carmello (nominee)
- Best Costume Design of a Musical – Susan Hilferty (nominee)
2006 Drama Desk Awards
- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical – Carolee Carmello (nominee)
- Lestat on Broadway, Official website. (URL accessed April 12, 2006)
- San Francisco run
- Lestat at the Internet Broadway Database
- Playbill Vault listing
- Announcement on Rice's site
- BBC: "Elton sets date for vampire show"