Dance of the Vampires (or Tanz der Vampire as the original German version is named) is a musical remake of a 1967 Roman Polański film called The Fearless Vampire Killers. Polanski also directed the original German production of this musical. Music was composed by Jim Steinman and orchestrated by Steve Margoshes, and original German book and lyrics were written by Michael Kunze. Music and lyrics for the English version were written by Jim Steinman, and English book was officially written by Jim Steinman, Michael Kunze and David Ives, although it is said that Michael Crawford made a lot of changes in it.
Tanz der Vampire premiered at the Raimund Theater in Vienna, Austria on October 4, 1997. It was produced by Vereinigte Bühnen Wien. In 1998 it won the IMAGE AWARD, (International Musical Award Germany) for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. In addition Steve Barton, who created the role of Graf von Krolock, got the 1998 IMAGE AWARD for Best Actor. The production in Vienna closed on January 15, 2000. A recording of this production is available on a two-disc cd and on a one-disc cd covering the highlights of the show. Some of the recordings on the highlight cd are abridged, while others are the same ones as on the complete recording.
Original Vienna, Austria Cast, World Premiere 1997
Graf von Krolock ..... Steve Barton
The German productions are / were produced by Stage Entertainment since 2002. Before 2002 Stella Entertainment AG produced the show.
The show had its official German premiere in Stuttgart, Germany on March 31, 2000 in the Musical Hall (now called Apollo Theater). When Stella Entertainment AG went insolvent in 2002, the theater and Tanz der Vampire was taken over by Stage Entertainment. The production in Stuttgart closed on August 31, 2003.
Original Stuttgart, Germany Cast, 2000
Graf von Krolock ..... Kevin Tarte
A new production of the show started on December 16, 2003, in Neue Flora, Hamburg, Germany. The Hamburg production closed on January 22, 2006.
Original Hamburg, Germany Cast, 2003
Graf von Krolock ..... Kevin Tarte
The latest production is set to premiere in December 2006 at the Theater des Westens, Berlin.
The show was extensively rewritten for the New York/Broadway production, which starred Michael Crawford as von Krolock. The extended preview season (of 61 performances) started at the Minskoff Theatre on October 18, 2002. It closed on January 25, 2003 after a total of 117 performances.
The producers of the show wanted a rewrite with a more comic angle, instead of adapting the successful Austrian version, and as such, they hired comic playwright David Ives to write what amounted to a new book, which was then revised and rearranged by Crawford, who had creative control and also agreed that the piece should be a comedy on the lines of Mel Brooks.
The result was a very different version with lots of campy humor that lost the style and feeling of the original show, resulting in a big flop on Broadway.
Original Cast, New York, USA, 2002
The Warsaw production, with Roman Polanski as artistic director, opened at Roma Teatr Muzyczny on October 8, 2005. It is a Polish version of the original Vienna production. The Polish production is only the second one (after the original Vienesse production) to produce a cast recording. This makes the two-disc set the first recording to include "The Red Boots", a song added during the run of the production in Stuttgart, Germany. It also moves Alfred's song "Für Sarah" to the first act, after Sarah runs to the castle.
Original Warsaw, Poland Cast, 2005
Książę von Krolock ..... Łukasz Dziedzic
The Japanese production premiered on July 2, 2006 in Tokyo.
Original Tokyo, Japan Cast, 2006
Count von Krolock .... Yuichiro Yamaguchi
It is also said that "Tanz Der Vampire" inspired the Japanese playwrite Koki Mitani to write "Vamp Show," a play performed in Parco Theatre in 2001.
The Hungarian production is set to premiere in fall 2006 in Budapest.
Original German plot
Alfred, a young scientist, is the assistant of professor Abronsisus on an expedition to Transylvania. The professor has made it his life's work to prove the existence of vampires and to set mankind free. On the search for the castle of the vampire Count von Krolock, they got lost in deep snow in the wilderness. Half-frozen, they finally reach a lonely country village and stumble upon an inn. There, the farmers and lumberjacks sing the praises of garlic, which makes Professor Abronsius suspect that they have finally reached their destination, but the village inhabitants deny that such a castle exists. Alfred falls in love with Sarah, the innkeeper's beautiful daughter, and Sarah also likes the young man. As Sarah's father, Chagal fears for his daughter's innocence and boards up her bedroom door. While Sarah and Alfred dream separately of each other, a threatening shadow falls over the inn. Count von Krolock makes it clear, that he has his eye on Sarah.
The next day, Professor Abronsius tries to find out what the landlord and landlady know about vampires. His investigation meets with silence. When Count von Krolock's hunchback servant Koukol appears in order to get some candles, everyone becomes nervous and this makes Abronsius certain that the cripple acts as a servant for the vampire. He is determined to find out the truth. A fierce flirtation develops between Alfred and Sarah and she gives him her sponge after he admires it, though when Alfred is convinced Sarah wants to share his bath, she pushes him out of the bathroom to seize the bath for herself. Alfred observes her through the keyhole and witnesses Count von Krolock coming through a skylight and inviting Sarah to the annual midnight ball in his castle. Alfred raises the alarm so Abronsius and Chagal come quickly, but the vampire has vanished.
Later, Alfred sings an ardent song under Sarah's window. But Sarah had left her room a while ago in order to collect a present from the Count, which Koukol has left in the snowy garden. When she discovers Alfred, he thinks she has come down because of him, but she tells him she already has an invitation for the night. She sends Alfred inside to get her sponge and opens the present. Inside is a pair of red boots. Sarah puts them on and dreams about being the admired centre of the annual midnight ball. Before Alfred returns, Sarah runs away. She wants to go to the castle. Alfred's cries wake Chagal in the house. He hurries after his daughter and leaves the desperate Rebecca behind.
The next day the lumberjacks bring the stiff, frozen corpse of Chagal into the inn. Professor Abronsius professionally establishes that the landlord may become a vampire. He suggests putting a stake through the dead heart so that Chagal does not become a member of the undead. Rebecca prevents this and chases the vampire researcher away. In the night, Magda comes to the room in order to see Chagal and sees how thoroughly death has changed him. As she turns away, the body comes to life. Chagal seizes his maid and bites her throat. Then he lays the lifeless Magda under the cloth that had covered him. He has just enough time to hide under the table before Abronsius and Alfred return. They are about to put a stake through the heart under the cloth. At the last moment they notice what has happened. After a chase around the room, they overpower Chagal. He promises to change his bloodsucking ways, and Alfred points out that Chagal can lead them to the castle to rescue Sarah, if they spare him. They set off immediately.
On the way, Chagal runs off, but Alfred and Professor Abronsius find the castle. They are just about to look at the splendid portal when Count von Krolock appears. He welcomes the strangers and invites them to be his guests and, to Alfred's dismay, Abronsius accepts. The Count's son, the gay Herbert, also appears to greet them. He is very happy to have found a playmate in Alfred. Von Krolock sees to it that he can speak to Alfred in private and tries to lure him away from Abronsius. He calls the professor an old fool who has no idea about the wishes and needs of a young man like Alfred. Instead, von Krolock offers himself as a paternal friend. He hints that he can lead Alfred to Sarah as he produces the sponge that Sarah gave to Alfred, then waxes lyrical on the delights of the night. Thus ends Act 1.
Meanwhile, Sarah finds herself in the castle. She wanders the halls restlessly and meets the Count. The ruler of the vampires seizes the girl's throat and longs to bite her, but he resists, waiting for the ball which will be held the following night.
Alfred has a horrible nightmare, in which he sees Sarah seduced by von Krolock, then himself seduced and bitten before he bites Sarah himself. He awakes and resolves to save Sarah. Before he can go to look for her, he has to accompany the professor to the castle's vaults. There they discover the sarcophaguses of the Count and his son Herbert. On the descent into the crypt, the professor gets caught on the banister and cannot free himself. Alfred, who is already downstairs, is told to open the coffins and drive stakes through the vampires' hearts. However, he cannot make himself do it, to the professor's frustration. Without having achieved anything, Alfred climbs the stairs again and frees the professor. After they leave, Chagal and Magda come out of their coffin and discuss the upcoming ball as well as their new vampire life before Koukol chases them back into their coffin.
Whilst searching for a better way into the crypt, Alfred and the professor come across the castle library. Abronsius sees the collection of books and forgets about the vampire hunt. There, Alfred hears Sarah singing. He follows the sound of her voice and finds Sarah in a splendid bathroom in the castle. She sits in the bath enthusing about the Count's generosity and doesn't listen to Alfred's calls for her to flee with him. Eventually she expels Alfred from the bathroom because she wants to get dressed. Alfred is desperate. His love for Sarah, however, does not falter. On the contrary, he swears to do everything for her and to give everything to her. He returns to Abronsius in the library to ask his advice. The professor is still busy with the books and as he has not thought of anything better, he advises his assistant to bury his nose in a book as well.
Alfred reaches into the shelf at random and begins to read "Advice For Lovers." Contained in there is encouraging advice for him. And when he thinks he hears Sarah's voice again, he returns to the bathroom. Instead of Sarah, Herbert is waiting for him. Alfred tries in vain to get out of the way of the Count's son's advances. While Herbert shows him how they will waltz at the ball, Alfred's glance falls on a mirror. There he sees only himself, although Herbert is standing next to him. When the gay vampire eventually gets hold of his victim and falls on him, Professor Abronsius surprises him by diving on Herbert and hitting him with an umbrella.
Alfred and Abronsius climb the castle towers. Suddenly the vampire Count steps out. He no longer pretends to admire the Professor. Once again he orders Alfred to separate himself from Abronsius and follow him, claiming that he already owns Alfred's soul. He then vanishes into the night.
Looking down on the cemetery from the castle's battlements, the professor and his assistant witness the graves opening. The undead of the past centuries push the gravestones aside and loosen their stiff limbs in order to march in a long procession to the midnight ball at the castle. When the cemetery is empty, von Krolock appears. Lost in thought, he goes from grave to grave. He remembers the numerous sweethearts he has killed as a vampire and becomes conscious of the misery of his existence. Every time he seizes happiness, he just destroys it. The more he tries to satisfy his greed, the greater it becomes.
Meanwhile, the midnight ball has begun in the castle's ballroom. Alfred and Abronsius have knocked out two of the vampires, put on their clothes and mixed with the guests. Eventually von Krolock appears and opens the party with the announcement that this year there will be a rich meal. Then he presents Sarah. He dances with her and bites her throat. During the next minuet Abronsius establishes that Sarah has withstood the blood loss and is still alive. The attempt to carry her off fails when Herbert recognises the two men as mortals because their images are reflected in the mirror. Von Krolock orders the vampires to suck out their blood. Alfred and Abronsius make a cross out of two candelabras. Horrified, the vampires retreat, and von Krolock swears vengeance, ordering Koukol to go after them.
Later, Alfred, Sarah and Abronsius hike through the winter landscape of Transylvania as Koukol perishes on his task. When they have escaped to safety, they rest. While the professor busies himself with notes about the dangerous expedition for his scientific work, Alfred and Sarah sink into an embrace. But what seems like a happy ending is the beginning of the vampires' world domination...
New York plot
(borrowed from the official website of Jim Steinman)
We are in a Transylvanian graveyard near the village Lower Belabartokovich. It is three nights before Halloween, 1880-something.
Sarah, the beautiful teenage daughter of the local innkeeper, is out picking mushrooms when a pack of very cool young vampires appears out of the mist, dancing with rapturous abandon. Sarah is entranced as a coffin rises from the ground containing the mesmerizing and extremely cool Count Von Krolock (alias Michael Crawford).
The Count sings to Sarah seductively and promises to return for her at the total eclipse of the moon--when Sarah, in exchange for a small bite, can become Queen of the Vampires and rule the world. How can any small-time girl resist?
But then arrives Professor Abronsius, a rather intensely wacky vampire killer, with his handsome if sweetly dim assistant Alfred. Alfred is instantly smitten by Sarah and vice versa. Torn between Alfred and the Count, Sarah runs off to Krolock's castle, pursued by Alfred and Abronsius.
There are ecstatic love duets, close encounters, unbridled dancing, wild comedy and, of course, bats and a madman named Boris. Sarah has to choose between earthly love with Alfred, or eternal passion with Krolock in the Vampire State Building.
The climactic vampire dance erupts as the moon starts to eclipse, and everybody somehow manages to find happiness....Transylvania-style.
Totale Finsternis (Total Darkness (Total Eclipse of the Heart))
New York production
Vampires in Love (Total Eclipse of the Heart)