Press Excerpts From Important German Papers
From now on Vienna will be a city of vampires. Roman Polanski and his team have made it so. The world premiere of the musical Dance Of The Vampires at the Raimund Theater was greeted with cheers and standing ovations by an enraptured audience. What's more: Polanski has proven himself once again to be a man of the theater with an extraordinary feeling for young acting talent. Go to see it and be stunned!...Roman Polanski has applied his experience to turn his own cult film The Fearless Vampire Killers, made in 1966/67, inside out for Vienna. Thanks to the librettist Michael Kunze, the musical dramaturgy has a lot of bite... The composer, Jim Steinman has grasped the horror in a skillful manner: he has woven the explosive rock music - increasing in the finale to a hammering disco orgy - with sweetly sentimental melodies...Polanski has found a magnificent stage designer in William Dudley, a seducer who makes it easy for us to descend into the world of the fantastical: the dismal snowy landscape, the dilapidated village pub and above all the huge horror palace with its bizarre halls - gallery of ancestral portraits, library, bathroom, crypt - are a visual pleasure for the audience. Of the greatest perfection are Sue Blane's delightful vampire haute couture and Hugh Vanstone's lighting design. However, most importantly, Polanski - the "horror specialist" has a cast which can stand comparison with its model in the film.
Salzburger Nachrichten (Salzburg):
The launch of the new musical flagship went off without a hitch, almost perfect in fact, and the production in Vienna, and maybe elsewhere, should prove to be anything other than a flop. This is assured by Jim Steinman's mostly very refined instrumental music, all at once powerful, uncomplicated, kitschy and borrowing, in careful measure, from his own repertoire of successful hits as a safety measure. Barely interrupted by spoken dialogue, the work actually steers towards opera-style symphonics and marvelously supports Marcel Prawys's view that musicals of today are a continuation of the successful popular operas... Perfect, lively and entertaining, slightly creepy, erotic, and funny...a planned run of months or even years, three-fold casting, worldwide availability, and songs that may be "hits" in their own right form the show's strategic backbone. It is politically correct and suitable for under-18's, and as such is a commendable, highly professional production. Roman Polanski, who is no stranger to directing opera and theater, and the leading team can be more than satisfied.
Die Welt (Berlin):
A large number of vampires have been sighted in the Danube metropolis and the sucking will go on for a long time. With Jim Steinman - the Prince Of Darkness of the rock/pop scene - Dance Of The Vampires has struck it rich. The play is composed right through, wonderful transitions work perfectly...sometimes one is reminded of Rossini and Weill...Action and song are fused to produce a completely hypnotic effect.
Berliner Morgenpost (Berlin):
The transformation from screen to stage works amazingly well...Perfect direction...symphonic rock...beautiful lyrical moments...one is overwhelmed...Storms of applause...The scheduled running time of one and a half years will easily be prolonged. Polanski, we are told, gets part of the income. Well, he can look forward to some prosperous years.
Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munchen):
An animated Viennese premiere audience roared and screamed its approval of the musical adaptation of Dance Of The Vampires, making it a high-decibel success at Vienna's Raimund Theater. Michael Kunze, whose Elisabeth can now be seen in it's fourth year in Vienna, has conclusively translated the film material into a visually elegant and effective stage version. Polanski, the stage magician with the help of his stage set designer William Dudley, choreographer Dennis Callahan and costume designer Sue Blane, has produced a really marvelous and often surprisingly spectacular show. The dance troupe bring a magnificent, highly threatening vampire atmosphere to this story of initiation.
Der Standard (Vienna):
Jim Steinman masterfully alternates from symphonic rock to folklore-style Stetl flair, he also packs in heavy-metal aggression and is not short of a hearty rock- boogie. This means that musically as well as visually, the musical resembles certain other models and is a combination of the Rocky Horror Show, Fiddler On The Roof and Phantom Of The Opera.
Berliner Zeitung (Berlin):
Roman Polanski has launched the best ever German musical and his writer, Michael Kunze, gives the vampires new dimension. He looks at them not only as godless monsters, but as torn beings with feelings and moral scruples who regard eternity as a curse...The Count's ballad of insatiable appetite - sung by the fantastic Steve Barton with a dark glow - is seriously heart gripping...Steinman's music is grandiose, ecstatic, sometimes operatically heart-breaking...Steinman delivers at least five solid themes...One hardly finds anything equal to the quality of this show in the genre...So far, no musical from Continental Europe has succeeded on Broadway. However, producers will stand in line for Dance Of The Vampires.
Frankfurter Neue Presse (Frankfurt):
Storms of cheering...the pleasing music of epic rock's Jim Steinman was convincing!
Stuttgarter Nachrichten (Stuttgart):
This is ready to be transported to Broadway - perfectly composed, dramatically and beautifully balanced. Although you hear a waltz once, and than a kind of minstrel's song, Dance Of The Vampires is a rock musical - one which crosses the border more than once into the world of tear jerkers. The musical has lots of hilarious moments, but Polanski endows his vampires with melancholy and tragedy which expands to a moral theme that insatiable appetite, not only sexual hunger, is what rules the world...Very spectacular sets by William Dudley. Sue Blane has created priceless costumes. Dennis Callahan sears the stage with volcanic choreography.
Frankfurer Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt):
Steinman opens up his list of possibilities from Rock and Roll to Puccini...the professional perfection is stunning...Polanski and Dudley succeed in delivering striking illusions by relatively simple means...There is hardly a spoken line in the show, but Kunze's lyrics are strong.
Hamburger Abendblatt (Hamburg):
Jim Steinman, founder of the rock band Meat Loaf, added to this world of images a lush rug of sounds woven from mostly monumental songs, but also sensitive ballads...Though Steinman does not use spoken dialogue...writer Michael Kunze succeeds in avoiding lingual banalities.
Munchner Abendzeitung (Munchen):
After the Gala opening of Dance Of The Vampires the doubts have been put to rest. The United Theaters Of Vienna are about to cash in. Polanski's characters not only live but are totally contemporary. Jim Steinman, who has written hits for Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler and Barbra Streisand, has used classical musical form, which also contains catchy tunes and moving songs. Even though he has a reputation as the "Wagner Of Rock," Steinman also gives nods to the organ sound of Lloyd Webber, Steve Sondheim's patter and Russian folk music.
The Kurier (Vienna):
Roman Polanski's world premiere at Vienna's Raimund Theater is a resounding success. If Dance Of The Vampires were a rock show there would only be one word to describe it: sensational. As a musical, there is still only one word to describe it: sensational. Roman Polanski and composer Jim Steinman have written a contemporary musical with results that are more like a rock concert than Kiss Me Kate...Steinman has written some very sensitive melodies, particularly in the first part, and his songs are eminently hummable...The dance scenes are typical of the production as a whole: loud and very sexy. The play promises to be an international success.
Austrian Broadcasting Corporation:
This story turns a perfect horror movie into a fascinating and comical musical. This is mainly thanks to composer Jim Steinman, who has the sensitivity and subtlety required to rely on solo instruments to create the moods needed for the various transitions while also using very powerful, vehement and aggressive rock rhythms...His music is imaginative, inspired and even sounding in places like a modern-day Rossini or Kurt Weill. Roman Polanski has done a great job on the script...with plenty of humor and charm, but also with good stagecraft and powerful lighting effects. To judge by the audience reaction at the premiere, it looks as if this production will be a great success.