Tanz der Vampire is an Austrian musical with music by Jim Steinman and lyrics by Michael Kunze. It's The Musical of The Fearless Vampire Killers, and has the same general story, but with several alterations. All in all, it's a decidedly more raucous, over-the-top experience than the movie, chock full of Alternate Character Interpretation.The basic plot features The Hunter Professor Abronsius and his timid, feeble assistant Alfred arriving in a Transylvanian village straight out of Hammer Horror. Alfred falls in love with the innkeeper's daughter Sarah, and she toys with him a bit before running off to the local castle instead. Of course, said local castle is infested with vampires, lead by Count von Krolock and his Flamboyant Gay son Herbert (who has his own eye on Alfred), and Sarah prepares to become Krolock's new Queen of the Night at a lush vampire ball. Alfred, unaware that she's happier this way, valiantly tries to rescue her (when he's not screaming like a girl). Meanwhile, Sarah's father is turned into a vampire himself, and he goes on to turn Magda, the beautiful and chaste maidservant he's been lusting after for years, into his undead girlfriend.There was a Broadway version called Dance of the Vampires, but mentioning this is a good way to get hit in the face by fans of the European version. (Indeed, the American producers fired Jim Steinman from the project for protesting their Executive Meddling.) In Europe this show is largely regarded as the exception to the idea that all Vampire Musicals will fail, which otherwise applies as strongly as it does in America (Frank Wildhorn's Dracula tried to mimic the Tanz formula by having the score rewritten as a rock show and even casting perennial Krolock Thomas Borchert as Dracula. It lasted only a little longer than it did on Broadway).Productions so far:
Vienna, Austria, 1997: The original production, with the late Steve Barton as Graf von Krolock and Cornelia Zenz as Sarah. It won a few IMAGE Awards (the European equivalent to the Tonys), including Best Actor in a Musical (Steve Barton) and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Eva Maria Marold as Magda), and featured costumes by Sue Blane of The Rocky Horror Picture Show fame.
Stuttgart, Germany, 2000: Responsible for pretty much saving the theater that put it on. Originally starred Kevin Tarte as Krolock and Barbara Köhler as Sarah. Introduced a new song, "Stärker als wir sind", that replaced Sarah's dream ballet in the original production.
Tallinn, Estonia, 2000 (Vampiiride Tants): A loosely staged concert version, with Jassi Zahharov as Krolock and a then-15-year-old Nele-Liis Vaiksoo as Sarah, in the role that launched her career.
New York City, United States, 2002 (Dance of the Vampires): The only English-language production to date was a Broadway disaster, due in part to severe revision which changed the story a lot and turned the humor from darkly funny to slapstick and unfunny (and added to the idea that Vampire Musicals don't work on Broadway). Starred Michael Crawford as Krolock, Mandy Gonzalez as Sarah, and Rene Auberjonois as Professor Abronsius. Jim Steinman hates this version.
Warsaw, Poland, 2005 (Taniec Wampirow): Introduced new costumes, sets and orchestrations. Featured Lukasz Dziedzic as Graf von Krolock and Malwina Kusior as Sarah. Also starred a then-nineteen-year-old newcomer named Jakub Wocial as Herbert, who's now one of the biggest rising stars in European musical theater.
Tokyo, Japan, 2006 (Vampiru no Dansu): Entirely reconfigured production (restoring Sarah's original dream ballet rather than "Stärker als wir sind," the only production to do so) with Japanese stage legend Yuichiro Yamiguchi as Graf von Krolock and Chichiro Otsuka and Tamaki Kenmoci alternating as Sarah.
Berlin, Germany, 2006: Thomas Borchert as Graf von Krolock and Lucy Scherer as Sarah. Also notable for the casting of Deutschland sucht den Superstar (the German equivalent of American Idol) winner Alexander Klaws as Alfred.
Budapest, Hungary, 2007 (Vámpírok Bálja): New sets and costumes; still playing. Currently, the role of Krolock alternates between Géza Egyházi and Gábor Bot (and Bálint Merán), while Zsanett Andrádi, Lotty Kovács and Anna Török share the role of Sarah. Máté Kamarás, who understudied Herbert in the original Vienna production, has also alternated in the part in Budapest.
10th Anniversary Concert in Vienna, Austria, 2007: Thomas Borchert as Graf von Krolock and Marjan Shaki as Sarah. Minimal staging using the Polish costumes except for the finale.
Oberhausen, Germany, 2008: Kevin Tarte and Jan Ammann alternate playing Graf von Krolock (Tarte's enthusiasm for the role makes it hard to understand why Borchert keeps getting it when he's tired of it). In the spirit of representing many international Tanz productions, Nele-Liis Vaiksoo reprises her career-making role as Sarah, while the alternate Magda and Alfred (Tímea Kecskés and Tibor Héger) hail from the Hungarian cast. Jakub Wocial appears as alternate Herbert.
Tokyo, Japan, 2009: Summer revival featuring the original Japanese cast save for a few switchouts (Sylvia Grab replacing Yuko Miyamoto as Magda, for example).
Vienna, Austria, 2009: Thomas Borchert as Graf von Krolock, with Marjan Shaki as Sarah, as well as original cast members Gernot Kranner and James Sbano as Abronsius and Chagal respectively and original Hamburg Magda Anna Thorén returning to the show as well.
Stuttgart, Germany, 2010: Kevin Tarte and Jan Ammann alternate playing Graf von Krolock, with Lucy Scherer and Sabrina Auer alternating as Sarah. Linda Konrad returns from the Oberhausen production as Magda, joined by horny cohort Jerzy Jeszke, who has played Chagal in Hamburg, Berlin and Oberhausen. Overall, many of this production's cast have appeared in at least one production of the show somewhere, which is fitting considering this production began as the result of winning a contest to determine what show would replace Wicked for six months till a new show takes the theater. The production transferred to Berlin in November 2011, with Drew Sarich taking over the role of von Krolock.
Antwerp, Belgium, 2010 (Dans der Vampieren): An official cast recording has been released.
Seinäjoki, Finland, 2011 (Vampyyrien Tanssi): Premiered in September 2011. The script was translated by Marika Hakola, and the show will star Jyri Lahtinen as von Krolock, Raili Raitala as Sarah, and Ville Salonen as Alfred. The production's Facebook page can be found here. Someone seems to have decided to use the title Dance of the Vampires in the logo (according to fans connected to the show, English is more prevalent in advertising in Finland), but no worries, the production will be the European version.
Nitra, Slovakia, 2011 (Ples Upírov): A Slovak student production, similar to the above "non-replica" Finnish production, premiered on May 3, 2011 under the direction of Peter Oravec.
St. Petersburg, Russia, 2011 (Бал вампиров, Bal Vampirov for those used to Anglicized spelling): Premiered at the same time the Finnish production did, at the St. Petersburg State Theater of Musical Comedy. This production also has a Facebook page. Starring Ivan Oghozin as von Krolock, Elena Gazaeva as Sarah, and Georgy Novitsky as Alfred. Ivan Ozhogin later went on to play Von Krolock in the 2013 Berlin production.
Paris, France, 2014 (Le Bal des Vampires): This production, directed once again by Polanski, opened in October 2014 at the Théâtre Mogador in Paris. Featuring French comedian/singer Stéphane Métro as von Krolock and Rafaelle Cohen as Sarah, this was the first European production to meet with largely negative critical notices in the major newspapers, but has by all reports remained an audience favorite.
The Oberhausen cast performed a multilingual version of the finale in 2008, giving hints that there may be Italian and Portuguese productions as well in the future. There have been talks afoot about a production in the UK, but producers are reportedly unwilling to touch it for the two-fold reason of a) the show's English title not being changed to something other than Dance of the Vampires, and b) the show's unfortunate Broadway reputation under said title. Rumors of a new English version being in the works ultimately proved to be unfounded at the moment, but this does not preclude later plans.Fan-projects are abundant with this musical right now. A LiveJournal user is translating the songs from the show into Spanish (here is the Spanish version of "Totale Finsternis") and there are a few tracks existing from Dança dos Vampiros, an amateur Portuguese performance put together by a group of fans. There are also a couple clips from a pre-actual-production Hungarian fan album floating about the Internet. Suggestions have been made for various translations or fan recordings, but nothing other than these have yet come out of it.Now has a developing Character Sheet.
The original and all other versions except the American include examples of:
Alternate Character Interpretation: invoked Compared to the original film's relentless, almost Satanic antagonist, Graf von Krolock in the musical is a noble, sad Anti-Hero who's compelled to destroy what he loves and longs for in spite of his own guilt over it. Sarah was The Ingenue in the film, but in The Musical, she's an ambitious free spirit longing to be corrupted into something dark and powerful. Alfred's denseness is largely ignored here, replaced purely by timidness and extreme awkwardness, while Magda is developed into something of a Tsundere. Finally, while Herbert is purely a threatening, unsettling Sissy Villain in the film, here he's actually in giddy, infatuated love with Alfred rather than looking only to bang him, and subsequent productions have grown fond of implying that they would make a better couple than Alfred and Sarah and raising a moment of sympathy for Herbert when he's spurned.
Altum Videtur: The Latin chant in "Carpe Noctem" ("Seize The Night"), mixed with Greek, translates as follows:
Day of anger, master / Free me, lord.
Day of anger, master / Grant me rest, lord.
All rejoice, master / The sacrificial lamb, lord.
Day of anger, master / Holy! Holy! Rejoice!
And Call Him George: The more innocent interpretation of Herbert tackling Alfred. Very much dependent on the actors involved.
Arc Words: "Sei bereit!" ("Be prepared!") The vampire chorus sing it soft and low and eerily at many points throughout the musical. note Even funnier to '80s nostalgia freaks, because in the real English, it's "Turn around..."
Audience Participation: The finale of the show is written with a breakdown and chant echoing Queen's "We Will Rock You", in which the audience is encouraged to join in. Also, Alfred attempts to hide from Herbert in the audience, and many vampires enter or exit that way (sometimes biting audience members in passing).
Bath Kick: Sarah does this in Act II, when she shows Alfred the huge sponge the Graf gave her as a gift.
Big Bra to Fill: Magda is supposed to be extremely voluptuous- big chest, big hips- and as this is a stage show this means that the opposite effect tends to happen when she's played by petite actresses. Drawn-on cleavage and padding around the hips and behind are standard for these Magda actresses.
Big "NO!": Graf von Krolock gives one of these when confronted by the cross at the ball.
Bishōnen: Herbert is usually an eerily accurate three-dimensional version of this trope, going beyond the typical Pretty Boy.
Bolero Effect: "Ewigkeit" ("Eternity"). (The melody's original title was in fact "Great Boleros of Fire" before it was used here.)
Book Ends: Not in the usual ending, however, an alternate ending used by the 2009 Vienna version ends with the Professor wandering around lost, calling for Alfred in exactly the same way Alfred was for him in the beginning.
Chase Scene: Abronsius and Alfred after Chagal, Koukol after Magda, Koukol after Sarah and Alfred, wolves after Koukol...
The Cover Changes The Meaning: Many of the melodies in the show are rebuilt from little-known (except "Totale Finsternis") songs that not many people other than Jim Steinman's fan base would know to begin with. The entirely new lyrics disqualify it from Jukebox Musical status - most of these melodies are used drastically differently than how they were originally written, or with different implications.
Crowd Song: "Knoblauch" and "Ewigkeit" ("Garlic" and "Eternity").
Cute Monster Girl: Magda as a vampire, if the actress doesn't go too heavy on the horror makeup. Some of the other female vampires have this going on too - it's very much an individual choice except with Sarah in the end, who is this by default.
It's highly dependent on the actors' individual choices, but the reprise of "Totale Finsternis" at the ball can be played as one of these- namely, if the actress playing Sarah acts regretful and frightened when she sings that "[she] set out to lose [her] heart and lost [her] mind instead" after being bitten, and if the Graf suddenly seems cold and forceful toward her.
The reprise of He, Ho, Professor definitely is one of these.
Distaff Counterpart: Some amateur productions have replaced the character of Herbert with an equally Alfred-obsessed daughter to the Count (variously named Herbertine, Bertine, Herberta, Helena or — completely randomly — Integra).
Distressed Damsel: Inverted: Sarah doesn't want to be saved. Also averted with a side of Fridge Logic by the fact that neither Alfred nor the Professor thinks to protect Magda from Chagal after he's been bitten, even though she's the natural vampirism target after Sarah given that she's apparently the only other attractive young woman in the village. And then when she is attacked, they leave her body behind without so much as a cross to hold her...
Unhappy, dreamy teenager named Sarah is lured into a fantastic, twisted world by a much older and not quite human nobleman who offers to give her everything she desires, but for a terrible price. Hmmmm. (And yes, while Sarah was indeed named Sarah in the film as well, the dynamic in the musical is different enough to make one wonder if this was a conscious Shout-Out.)
Obliterating any passing resemblance of the original story to that of The Phantomofthe Opera supposedly was Michael Crawford's motivation for insisting on or agreeing to drastic changes for the Broadway version.
Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Depending on the actor. In some performances, this is what would have happened to Alfred if the professor hadn't shown up to scare Herbert off. Yet, it's still one of the funniest moments in the show.
Downer Ending: Depending on interpretation, because the last scene (the vampires win and they accept the audience into their fold as the newest undead) is very dark, while the pounding finale number makes that sound rather fun.
Dream Ballet: Sarah has one in Act I and Alfred has one in Act II. The difference between the two is that Sarah imagines becoming a vampire as a beautiful, romantic and passionate experience at a ball full of lovers, while Alfred imagines her being tricked and raped while surrounded by rotting corpses. The actual ball ends up closer to Sarah's dream, but the ending is closer to Alfred's (except without the rape, thank goodness, and it's Sarah who brutally attacks and turns Alfred, not the other way around.)
"Carpe Noctem" ("Seize the Night") clocks in at 9:38.
"Die roten Stiefel/Das Gebet" ("The Red Boots/The Prayer"). Sarah's dream sequence song (already a big production number in itself) is quickly followed by first Rebecca praying... then Magda joins her... then it's the two women and Alfred... then the whole village... and then Sarah starts singing counterpoint over it and is herself joined by Graf von Krolock, while the music continues to grow in intensity and bright lights slowly come to point directly at the audience as well as the actors onstage- and more ensemble members stand and sing their parts in the aisles, until it all rises to a climax and the stage goes black except for the kneeling Sarah.
Face-Revealing Turn: During "Draußen ist Freiheit (Reprise)", Sarah falls to the ground, and Alfred helps her up. When she turns around again, she suddenly has vampire fangs, which Alfred doesn't notice until she attacks him.
Fang Thpeak: One of the things that makes this musical harder for the actors than others is the requirement to sing around big freakin' fake teeth, so extra training is required for actors to overcome this trope.
Fanservice: To increase the joy of squealing fangirls upon seeing Herbert attempt to seduce Alfred, a bit of choreography was added in which Herbert grabs Alfred's... buttocks. And grins. Also, for the men in the audience, Magda's vampire look was made considerably sluttier when the show moved to Stuttgart.
First Girl Wins: Averted — Alfred meets (and gawks at) Magda first, but falls in love with Sarah.
Flamboyant Gay: Herbert. Some actors have gone the extra distance and made him bisexual by groping the breasts of, winking at, and giving long, meaningful looks at while stroking the cheeks of female vampires at the ball.
The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: "Ewigkeit" ("Eternity") ends with the vampires lunging directly at the audience as they walk up through the aisles. Vampires also appear in the stalls during both act finales.
French Maid: Averted — Magda doesn't dress like this. Not that her own tigh-bodiced, cleavage-boosting dress isn't just as fanservicetastic.
Hell-Bent for Leather: All of the vampires wear leather, vinyl and lace versions of their previous ball costumes in the finale (except Magda, whose costume is a variation on her tavern wench dress from the first act).
Heroes Want Redheads: Done and then subverted. Alfred is fascinated and smitten with the redheaded (and very busty) Magda — until he sees Sarah. Of course, the rest of the villagers still want her. However, of course, in several productions Sarah is redheaded, thus playing this completely straight.
Hope Spot: For a while, it looks like Alfred and the Professor really have saved Sarah.
Hypocritical Humor: Averted by Chagal with his song "Eine schöne Tochter ist ein Segen" ("A Beautiful Daughter is a Blessing"): He complains about all men being swine while afterwards going on to seduce/harass tavern maid Magda, but he acknowledges that his opinion about men is based on his own behaviour.
The Igor: Koukol, who ups the standard Igor quotient by being not only hunchbacked, but also borderline retarded and apparently suffering from whatever it was Joseph Merrick had.
"I Want" Song: "Die roten Stiefel" ("The Red Boots") for Sarah, and "Die unstillbare Gier" ("The Insatiable Greed") is a terribly dark twist on the trope for Krolock.
The Ingenue: Sarah's very existence plays with this trope. Her casting information flat-out calls her "pure and radiant, but wanting to be corrupted". She's very naive in some areas and borders on a temptress in others.
Ironic Echo: The vampires take the Professor's happy predictions of a brave new world at the end and twist them to their own purposes.
Irony: Hoo boy. The show ends with Alfred and Abronsius having wrested Sarah from Krolock's clutches, only for Sarah to sprout fangs and make a meal out of Alfred, turning him into a vampire too, while the whole time Abronsius remains blissfully unaware that he didn't just fail to limit the spread of vampirism, he's actually taking a couple of vectors for it out into the world.
Love Dodecahedron: Herbert is in love with Alfred, who's in love with Sarah, who's in love with the count, who ends the chain by requiting Sarah's interest.
Love Interest: Averted, somewhat, in that Sarah's not all that interested in Alfred, and the song that is frequently touted as their "love duet" is actually Sarah complaining about her boredom and planning to leave without telling Alfred where she's going, while he says he loves her.
Mayfly-December Romance: Krolock's song "Die unstillbare Gier" is essentially a lament over all the lovers he's lost over the years. Except that he turned them all.
Mythology Gag: The one musical detail lifted directly from the film is the little 'ah-ah-ah' melody Sarah and Herbert both like to sing while bathing.
Never My Fault: Abronsius' general attitude, unfairly shifting blame to Alfred.
New Era Speech: The Professor's fourth-wall-breaking soliloquy in the end of Act II manages to hit all the standard notes- triumph, dismissal of his opponents, and predictions of a glorious future he has made possible ("the world will not be what it was")- and then the vampires enter and make it clear that he was right, a new era is dawning. It's theirs.
Alfred realizes that the vampires have human emotions and can feel remorse and pain after witnessing Krolock's graveyard soliloquy.
Not to mention all the sly parallels set up between Sarah and Herbert. Both are bored, lonely teenagers (though Herbert's been one for a long time) who enjoy bathing, they both have extremely protective fathers, they sing the same little song to themselves, and even their choreography around Alfred is similar.
Our Vampires Are Different: While the ball guests are clearly evil and almost zombielike, Krolock is capable of being a perfect gentleman, and there is a touch of sympathetic melancholy about him as well. Herbert, meanwhile, embodies many of the traits associated with seductive female vamps — but he's male.
Rays from Heaven: "Stärker als wir sind", or "Stronger Than We Are", which is a prayer, uses these. At its climax with virtually all named characters singing the prayer together, rays shine out from behind the stage, glorifying the moment and adding to the religious theme.
Running Gag: Alfred forgetting where to place the stake, and the Professor's "Eins! Zwei! Drei!".
She Cleans Up Nicely: Sarah makes her appearance at the ball in a beautiful, elaborate ballgown, with her hair upswept and adorned with a tiara, at the top of a staircase. Before that point, she is always shown in her nightgown and occasionally with pigtails.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The entire musical is one big STSD story. The Professor and Alfred don't stop the vampires from taking over the world, if anything helping them do it. All the dancing and love duets were in vain, and it's quite depressing.
Sinister Masquerade Ball: Not a masquerade, per se, though Alfred and Abronsius do disguise themselves.
Spiritual Sequel: The Hungarian musical Drakula, which obviously took a lot of hints from Tanz in terms of choreography and music. But the most obvious homage has to be the changed ending - instead of Jonathan and Mina living happily ever after, they embrace, as a happy reprise plays, only for Mina to reveal her new fangs and bite Jonathan.
Stand-In Portrait: In the opening of Act II, the vampires all masquerade as portraits in the castle when Sarah turns to them. When she looks away, they move and sing.
Surreal Horror: "Carpe Noctem", which involves a dance chorus that looks like ancient, decaying corpses, multiple Krolocks, bright flashes of light, spectacularly dissonant and anachronistic music, and Alfred's fear that he himself will be corrupted rendered in literally nightmarish terms.
You Are Too Late: An interesting case, seeing as the heroes' failure to save Sarah on time is made plain by the "victim" herself, who's now the same kind of monster they intended to save her from, rather than Krolock.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Magda and Sarah. Both are plenty feminine, but Magda's a lot more of a no-nonsense tough girl, while Sarah is a plucky dreamer.
Town with a Dark Secret: If you arrive in an inn full of garlic where everyone denies that there's a castle in the vicinity of the village...
True Love's Kiss: Mocked a bit, in that it's actually Sarah biting Alfred and coming up drooling blood, but the music while this happens is a reprise of their theme played an awful lot like Disney happy ending themes.
Twist Ending: After rescuing Sarah from the ball, Alfred holds her in his arms and comforts her, only to discover that he was too late — she's a vampire now, and she turns her fangs on him.
Überwald: A bit obvious, though the villagers have officially given up on trying to protect any newcomers to their town and don't even acknowledge the castle, let alone tell people not to go near it.
Unwanted Rescue: Sarah doesn't want to be rescued by Alfred — she'd rather stay with Graf von Krolock and become a vampire.
Graf von Krolock is a dramatic bass-baritone. He can be either operatically inclined or have a more rock sound, or some combination of the two.
Sarah is a low soprano/high mezzo with a lot of belt range.
Alfred is a standard male ingenue tenor.
Professor Abronsius is a comic tenor with some falsetto parts that move into the soprano range. In Japan, he was a baritone, and the soprano elements were transposed down.
Magda is a mezzo, though the fact that she has to hit higher notes than Sarah on a few occasions means that she has been played by a soprano before, and generally the main requirement is that she be able to sound a little rougher around the edges than Sarah. In Hungary, this was emphasized by one of the Magda actresses understudying Sarah as well.
Herbert is a "baritenor" (either a very low tenor or a very high baritone). Sometimes his role and Alfred's share understudies; sometimes swings are cast to play either him or his father on short notice.
Chagal is a comic baritone.
Rebecca is an alto.
The American production includes examples of:
Ascended Extra: Rebecca. She has a much bigger part than in the original, including changing Magda's solo "Death Is Such An Odd Thing" into a 50/50 duet with her. She also appears, and gets a reprise, in the second act.
Bondage Is Bad: Herbert announces his intention to spend his night with Alfred with "handcuffs, and wine, and candlelight...". Funny?Sexy? You decide.
The Cover Changes The Meaning: The show's failure to change the lyrics from the original songs in many cases is part of what killed it. Compare "God is dead/He will no longer be sought out/We live forever, drawn closer to the sun/But afraid of the light" to "I've been looking for an original sin/One with a twist and a bit of a spin...", or perhaps "God has left the building/But we still must live on/Yearning for light, but/Afraid of the sun..."
Deadpan Snarker: Both Boris (at least until he's transformed into The Renfield) and Magda.
Deus ex Machina: Having lost their vampire-killing materials, Alfred and the Professor are left to... open a curtain and have sunlight pour in, killing Krolock. At theMidnightBall? What.
Disposable Woman: Nadja and Zsa Zsa's only purpose in the show is to get kidnapped in the very first scene.
Double Take: Boris, upon noticing a transformed-Krolock:
GASP!: Played forNarmylaughs when the Professor announced his intentions to hunt vampires *GASP!* at the inn. Every time he mentions the word vampire *GASP!*, the villagers can't hide their shock. It's lampshaded when, after a couple rounds of going back and forth, Abronsius refuses to say "vampire"(*GASP!*) where it would normally go in the sentence.
Mood Whiplash: An example of this trope backfiring — the jokester we've seen making Incredibly Lame Puns throughout the whole show, and just seconds before this point, begins singing "The Insatiable Appetite". It undermines what would otherwise be a very Tear Jerking scene.
Musicalis Interruptus: "Never Ever Seen" is interrupted in the middle by one of the Professor's machines malfunctioning noisily.