Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vampires With Jazz Hands

We started the evening, appropriately enough, with bloody marys. Ironic drinks always make things better, especially if they have vodka in them.
But really, how can you prepare yourself for a Broadway musical about singing, dancing vampires? Especially when said musical has anything to do with Elton John, a man who once performed a concert dressed up in a full Donald Duck costume. To get ourselves in the mood, we decided to go in full gothic drag; Emily wore a lacy black dress that was cut just high enough to ensure that my concentration on the actual show would be minimal and I gelled my hair all Robert Smith crazy and put on copius amounts of eyeliner and mascara. I still looked totally manly, just so you know. With my beard and my overall oafish demeanor, I was more Lumberjack Goth than anything else.
We were seated in the third level, front row, which means we could see everything perfectly but were canted at a weird angle, looking down on the action. Good seats overall, though some of the illusion is ruined when you can watch the orchestra's bassoon player pick his nose in between songs.
The show its self... surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. I know, I'm shocked even as the words leave my brain. It was really disjointed and hurried; you could tell they were covering, like, 19 books in two hours. And, of course, the fact that it's a musical about vampires is going to naturally lend it's self to some unintentional silliness; there was much talk about "the crimson kiss" and "your body is dying; just go with it." And they had this amazingly shoddy special effect (note: ONE special effect) where part of the stage would catch fire so the vampires could commit suicide. Or something. Anyway, it looked a lot like a spilled BBQ grill in front of a trapdoor and I was not blown away by the splendor of Broadway.
But, there was a lot of good stuff, so it wasn't a total waste. Firstly, the music didn't suck. At all. Most of it, whole songs even, were really good. Despite the fact that Elton John is a mentally ill woman, he can write a catchy tune. And the dude that played Lestat... it kills me to say this... was really fucking awesome. And hunky. Mmm... break me off a piece of that. There was also this girl in it... she played Kirsten Dunst's part from Interview With a Vampire... she tore the roof off the theater with her mad singing skillz.
All in all, it was about 75 percent good. Interestingly, it was probably the gayest show I've ever seen and this is coming from a guy who's seen a LOT of theater in his day. By the second act, they pretty much drop all vampire pretenses and it turns into the the story of one man turning another to a "wicked" lifestyle, he's uncomfortable with it, then they adopt a daughter and live as family together. I know that vampire stories have always had some homoerotic undertones to them, but this was so in-your-face it was like a gothic Brokeback.
Anyway, the biggest problem with it is that there's no real reason for anyone to see it. It's not campy enough to get a cult audiance; it's not flashy enough to draw the tourists in; it's not flat-out good enough to last much longer than a few dwindling months before they pack it all in.
But whatever. I had a good time and my girlfriend looked hot. I want to be a vampire, too, because they're oh so handsome.


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