Stage Review

Dance of the Vampires (2002)


Details Opening Date: Nov 21, 2002; Lead Performance: Michael Crawford; Directors: John Caird, Jim Steinman

''God has left the building!'' booms an offstage voice, and Dance plunges into the abyss with a giant ''spoof!'' (just in case the caped ushers and bat-themed Mercedes ads in the lobby weren't enough of a clue-in). Yes, it's a joke, and its punchline is erstwhile Phantom of the Opera Michael Crawford as Count von Krolock, an undead Casanova with an inexplicable thatza-spicy-meat-a-ball accent. Unfortunately, that punchline arrives in Scene 1. What follows is two hours of Moron Rouge, a karaoke casserole of cheap gags, papier-mache sets, and halfhearted pop-song references. (Composer Jim Steinman tries to skip a step to instant camp, draining dry his '80s hit ''Total Eclipse of the Heart'' and tossing in a few Meatloaf references for bad measure.) By the time the vampires really start sucking -- sorry, dancing -- a stiff self-consciousness has set in: It's like watching ''Thriller'' performed by the cast of The Lawrence Welk Show.

Originally posted Jan 03, 2003 Published in issue #689 Jan 03, 2003 Order article reprints

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