- Lestat (musical)
Anne Rice's novel
The Vampire Chronicles"
2005 San Francisco
This was the first theatrical score from the legendary songwriting team of
Elton Johnand Bernie Taupin. Book by Linda Woolverton, and was directed by Robert Jess Rothwith musical staging by Matt West.
The title role of Lestat was played by
Hugh Panaro. The show was directed by Robert Jess Roth, who was a Tony Awardnominee for his Broadway directorial debut for "Beauty and the Beast", and also starred Carolee Carmelloas Gabrielle, Drew Sarichas Armand, Jim Stanekas Louis, Roderick Hill as Nicolas, Michael Genet as Marius and Allison Fischeras Claudia.
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 Pre-Broadway version of the Lestat musical was extremely 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 drastically revised the play. The San Francisco version, performed at the city's historic Curran Theater 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.
"This synopsis reflects the final, New York version.";Act ILestat kills a pack of wolves although his father had forbidden him to. Lestat's parents argue and, to defend her, he strikes his father. Gabrielle (Lestat's mother) convinces Lestat to leave and go to Paris to live with his friend Nicolas. Lestat resists; he doesn't want to abandon her, but he ends up going. She then thinks of how lonely her life will be without him, although she is happy he is finally free ("My Beautiful Boy").
Lestat finds Nicolas working as an actor in a small theater, very happy with his life ("In Paris"). Nicolas is also a good violinist and tells Lestat he has been disowned by his father after leaving school to study music. The two go to Nicolas' tiny flat and as they talk it becomes clear they're in love with each other. An offstage voice keeps calling "wolfkiller". Intrigued because Nicolas can't hear it, Lestat follows the voice for a while. Suddenly he 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.
In Nicolas's room, Gabrielle tell Nicolas that he should not worry about Lestat, for she is certain he will soon come back. She is obviously sick. After giving Nicolas the name of her hotel and asking him to take care of her son, she leaves. On the street she passes by Lestat, who hides from her. Lestat then looks through Nicolas's window, struggling against his desire to make him a vampire ("Right Before My Eyes").
Lestat goes to visit his mother and confesses that he is now a vampire. He makes his mother a vampire to save her life ("Make Me As You Are"). The Dark Gift allows Gabrielle to get free from the customs and morals of her time and finally be herself. Gabrielle and Lestat eventually go inside a church. A man dressed as a monk, with his face hidden by a cloak, follows them. They notice something unusual about him. The man introduces himself as the vampire Armand. He insists that Lestat and Gabrielle are in danger and must come with him. They follow him to a filthy graveyard, home to a group of satanist vampires, of which Armand is the leader. Armand announces that Lestat and Gabrielle are blasphemous and should be destroyed. Lestat reveals that Armand has been deceiving his followers and that they don't really serve The Devil at all ("The Dark Laws / To live like this"). Lestat and Gabrielle encourage the coven to live among mortals, and everybody is happy with the idea of creating a troupe of actors that only performs vampiric plays.
As Lestat and Gabrielle watch the former satanists go, they hear Armand's voice behind them, saying "I like your violinist". They turn and, to Lestat's horror, see that Armand has Nicolas as a hostage. Armand plays with Lestat, first by pretending he's going to kill Nicolas, then asking how come Lestat didn't turn him into a vampire. Couldn't he see how lonely his friend was? Laughing, he throws Nicolas to Lestat and leaves. Nicolas tells Lestat that he wants them to be together forever. Lestat finally gives in and makes transforms him. The new vampire simply sits on the floor in a catatonic state. As Lestat desperately calls his name, trying to get a reaction, the scene shifts to the first performance of Armand's ex-followers as actors.
Their play is an interpretive dance version of "The Vampire Armand" and tells the story of Armand and Marius ("Morality Play"). Lestat and Gabrielle compliment the play. The still catatonic Nicolas will not speak or move, except to play the violin. Armand enters the theater's backstage clapping. Lestat asks Armand why Nicolas is like that. Armand says the Dark Gift is unpredictable. Lestat asks if Marius is real, and if his ancient blood could heal Nicki. Armand reveals Marius was his own maker, but he believes he is dead. Lestat decides to look for him to heal Nicolas. Lestat and Gabrielle take Nicolas to travel through Europe in a search for Marius.
Ten years pass. Armand appears and 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. Gabrielle talks of the wonders of the world and everything she wants to do. Although she will miss Lestat, she has no interest in trying to cure Nicolas ("Crimson Kiss"). Gabrielle and Lestat kiss, and she leaves. Lestat asks Nicolas to play the violin. Instead of playing, Nicki speaks for the first time since he was transformed: "Release me." Desperate, Lestat agrees to light a fire. He scatters Nicki's ashes, crying ("Right Before My Eyes" (reprise)). A sudden light makes him look up. A figure has appeared on the sky and is coming down to talk to Lestat. Marius yells "COME!"
;Act IIMarius claims that he could not have saved Nicolas; that Nicolas made his own choice. Angry and sad, Lestat asks what is the meaning of their lifes. Marius says he cannot teach what a lifetime can and that Lestat should go to America, be the first vampire there, and start a new life. Lestat begs Marius to not leave him, for he cannot stand the loneliness. The ancient vampire replies, "then you'll make others", and instructs Lestat to choose his fledglings carefully. He had, himself, made a mistake transforming Armand. He says "Armand is empty. He cannot feel or love."
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 goes take 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 and calls Lestat a bastard, but agrees to stay and raise Claudia with him.
Time passes. In Claudia's bedroom, she is beautifully dressed and surrounded by dolls, for which she doesn't seem to care. Transformed at such a young age, she doesn't understand "human nature" and her craving for blood is bigger than those of the other vampires ("I Want More"). Claudia comes to realize that she'll never grow to be a woman and begins to ask questions. At a ball, after being treated as a child by younger people, Claudia mourns the adult life she'll never have ("I'll Never Have That Chance"). Lestat overhears the song and leaves guiltily. They meet later at home. He asks where Louis is, and she says she has asked him to give them some time alone. Awkwardly, he starts to apologize for not understanding her grief, but she interrupts and says she's sorry for giving him so much trouble lately. She says she has a present for him, and shows the unconscious body of a woman. Lestat bites the woman and falls on the floor, weak. Claudia had poisoned him, not knowing it was impossible to kill a vampire this way. More furious than ever, she grabs a knife and starts cutting Lestat. A very weak Lestat tries to reach out. Afraid of what Lestat might do to Claudia, Louis tells her there's only one way he can die, and Louis sets the house on fire. He and Claudia run, as Lestat tries to get away from the flames.
Later, Lestat is on a ship. He is wounded and thinks of what his life has become ("Sail Me Away"). Once in Europe, Lestat goes to the Theater of the Vampires. He asks Armand for some of his blood to help him heal. Armand agrees but insists that first they watch the final scene of the play that the theatre vampires are doing. Lestat is shocked to see Louis and Claudia on the stage. Armand says they had been there for over a year and refused to talk of their maker. After the play, Armand grabs Claudia and asks Lestat if that was the one who tried to kill him. Lestat tries to justify her act, but Armand and the others kill her ("To Kill Your Kind").
When night falls, Louis mourns Claudia and leaves Lestat ("Embrace It" (reprise)). Lestat asks Armand why he had killed Claudia. Armand gives him an ironic smile, talks of the sweetness of vengeance, and mockingly kisses him ("After All This Time"). Armand turns to leave, but Lestat confesses that he had found Marius, and repeats all the oldest vampire had said about Armand. Furious, Armand accuses Lestat of being a liar, says Marius loved him and throws Lestat from the roof. 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. To say that he accepts what he is? Yes, he accepts. He is evil... and he is sorry. Lestat prepares himself 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 then allows Lestat to drink the blood from his wrist. The light goes off. Lestat appears, dressed modern clothes, and says "I am the Vampire Lestat, and I will live forever."
"Note: In the musical, the characters of Armand and Lestat were changed to make Armand a bad guy and Lestat a good guy. Armand's passionate capacity of love and need to be loved, seen in the novels were eliminated, and so was Lestat's sadism."
Broadway opening cast
* From the Dead
* Beautiful Boy
* In Paris
* The Thirst
* Right Before My Eyes
* Make Me As You Are
* To Live Like This
* Morality Play
* The Crimson Kiss ;Act II
* Welcome to the New World
* Embrace It
* I Want More
* I'll Never Have That Chance
* Sail Me Away
* To Kill Your Kind
* Embrace It (Reprise)
* After All This Time
* From the Dead "Finale"
Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures announced that the cast recording of "Lestat" was recorded by
Mercury Recordson May 22, 2006 at Sony Studios. Planned release was July 11 2006 but has been postponed indefinitely. Since then, a gathering of the musicals' fans showed their adamant support for the musical by the creation of many websites (Including the now closed releaselestat.net). The fight continues to this day.
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 Awardfor Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical - Carolee Carmello (nominee)
* [http://www.lestat.com/ "Lestat" on Broadway] , Official website. (URL accessed
April 12, 2006)
* [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/92038.html San Francisco run]
* [http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=402876 Internet Broadway Database page for "Lestat"]
* [http://www.annerice.com/fa_thlestat.htm Announcement on Rice's site]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4285468.stm BBC: "Elton sets date for vampire show"]
* [http://www.broadway.com/gen/General.aspx?ci=525345 Video Blog]
* [http://www.hugh-panaro.net/LestatPhotos.htm Photos from Lestat]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqm9fT3Sr3Y Hugh Panaro sings "Right Before My Eyes" from Lestat]
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