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PETERSBURG THEATRE OF MUSICAL COMEDY
REPRESENTING RELIGIOUS MUSICAL ROMAN POLANSKI'S VAMPIRES BALL
(VIENNA 2009 VERSION)

In 1967 Roman Polanski made his first colored movie Fearless vampire killers in which he played one of the main parts. Intending to make a parody on popular horror films, at the same time the director aimed to create a romantic fairy-tale. He made vampires not only scary, but funny and attractive at the same time.

The film had a great success. Twenty years later producer Andrew Braunsberg, who yet in Hollywood became the friend of Polanski, decided to make a musical basing of this material. Polanski happily agreed to direct the theatre production of vampires as well.

Everything depended on solving of two issues: the playwright had to create scenes and lyrics keeping in mind the special atmosphere of the film, and the composer had to musically personify the characters - that is to create more than twenty different parts; and to bring all the arias and ensemble scenes to one conductor score.

In the production of the Tanz der Vampire there participated such masters as composer Jim Steinman (co-author of Andrew Lloyd Webber, author of many hits for Bonnie Tyler, Meat Loaf and Celine Dion) and playwright Michael Kunze (principal translator of all the world-known musicals into the German language).

Both creators brilliantly coped with their task. Owing to their talent the main heroes of the movie gained in the musical Tanz der Vampire those features and peculiarities which fascinated the whole world. The main characters of the musical are count von Krolock - a cruel, dangerous and at the same time inexpressibly attractive tempter; the beauty Sarah who is dreaming to fall under temptation and to change her boring monotonous life; professor-pedant Abronsius exploring vampires and his assistant, naive and shy boy Alfred.

Classics and rock are combined in this musical with amusing elegance, many of vocal numbers became real world hits. One of the main themes of Tanz der Vampire is the melody of the hit by Bonnie Tyler Total eclipse of the heart (Grammy award 1983). Composer Jim Steinman wrote this song as a recollection about the film Nosferatu (first screen version of Dracula) and he couldnt resist the pleasure to include this song in the theatre production about the vampires.

Work at Tanz der Vampire continued for about four years. Just try to imagine: during the performance the scenery is changed 75 times, there were created 220 original costumes, wigs and make-up designs, basing on special technology there were made dentures for more than 40 actors, and stage managers have to give orders about different stage changes 600 times!

 

This labor-consuming production was worth these efforts: vampires created a real furor! From the first performance in the Vienna theatre Raimund in 1997 till nowadays Tanz der Vampire is having great success on the best world stages. There are dozens of fun-clubs of this musical, and the most faithful fans are trying to see all the original versions of Tanz der Vampire in different countries. Performers of the part of Count von Krolock get real recognition. Of course, till nowadays special respect is paid to Steve Barton, the first performer of this part; he created an image of a charming vampire-aristocrat, full of dark passions and despair. At present von Krolock is performed: in Germany by enigmatic Kevin Tarte and lyrical Jann Ammann, in Austria by passionate Drew Sarich, in Hungary by magnetic Geza Egyhazi.

Millions of spectators all around the world have already appreciated the stunning energy of this musical. Finally vampires may conquer Russia as well.

In Saint-Petersburg Musical Comedy Theatre there is prepared the opening of Tanz der Vampire in a new 2009 Vienna version which is distinguished for brighter stage design. For this version the musical supervisor Michael Reed rearranged once again all the orchestra materials, and choreographer Dennis Callahan improved the dance numbers. Production became more elegant and keen owing to the mastery of Cornelius Baltus, co-director and associate of Roman Polanski.

Kentaur, production designer from Hungary, filled the performance with the atmosphere of Gothic sensuality. He created magnificent scenery, dozens of splendid costumes for all the heroes of the musical and developed original make-up.

These masters are working at the Russian production of Tanz der Vampire.

In the Musical Comedy Theatre there were 3 rounds of casting even for the actors of chorus and ballet.

Original Russian Cast:

Ivan Ozhogin, Alexander Sukhanov, Rostislav Kolpakov, Elena Gazaeva, Vera Sveshnikova, Georgy Novitsky, Sergey Denisov, Andrey Matveev, Ivan Korytov, Natalia Dievskaya, Anna Lukoyanova, Manana Gogitidze, Sofia Dushkina, Konstantin Kitanin, Kirill Gordeev, Alexandr Chubatiy, Sergey Sorokin.