Frank Wildhorns “Dracula” - ein Festschmaus für Broadway-Kritiker?

Frank Wildhorn hat es nun doch geschafft. Nach wochenlangen Previews, die von technischen Pannen und der Frage, wieviel Nacktszenen ein Broadway-Musical braucht, geprägt waren, ist die Premiere seiner Version des “Dracula“-Stoffs vor wenigen Stunden über die Bühne des New Yorker “Belasco” gegangen.
Prompt liefern New Yorks Kritiker ihre Urteile ab. Und das sieht bis jetzt nicht gut aus für Wildhorn. So meint die “Variety”:

A crippling case of anemia is the last thing you’d expect from a musical about literature’s most celebrated vampire. But so it is with Broadway’s bloodless “Dracula,” which frantically rattles the old bones of Bram Stoker’s novel without generating a moment of suspense, horror, romance or even vague interest.
With the aimlessly churning pop music of Frank Wildhorn underscoring Don Black’s typically banal lyrics and lumbering book, the musical plods doggedly through the creaky tale of ancient evil despoiling Victorian innocence. (…) The musical, in any case, is beyond saving. Raising neither smiles nor shudders, this turgid retread of Stoker’s sanguinary tale of sin, sex and salvation merely gives rise to the dire reflection that eternal damnation seems a benign fate when measured against the prospect of a lifetime of Frank Wildhorn musicals.

Die “New York Daily News” schreibt:

Black, the lyricist for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard,”
sometimes comes up with a mildly amusing rhyme, like “Thames” and “Requiems.” But most of his work is on the lackluster level of, “The ground moved as we kissed … I wish I could stay in the mist.” Deadly! Wildhorn’s music is similarly earthbound. He wrote a few soaring numbers in his best work, “Jekyll and Hyde,” but here his desire to write simple tunes - which I have nothing against - results in music that is melodically insipid and rhythmically inert. It has no pulse. Most disappointing is the book by Hampton, one of the most intelligent of contemporary English playwrights. He seems to have seen his task as merely providing filler between the musical numbers, since the plot has no logic of its own. (…) It is hard to imagine the usually canny Des McAnuff directed this anemic production. “Dracula” can be a lot of things, but it should never be bloodless.

“Broadwayworld.com” analysiert:

Which is all the more a shame because composer Frank Wildhorn seems to be trying a few new musical directions with this one. Fans of his scores for Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War shouldn’t worry. It’s not like he’s turning into Gershwin or — dare I say it — the “S” word. His music still provides the kind of pop-infused dramatics that have made him a favorite among a loyal league of theatre-goers, but Dracula is a bit subdued musically, compared with his previous scores, with no big, belty power ballad climaxes. He makes an obvious choice by providing the kind of generic horror movie music we’d expect from such a project (although the play-out music reminded me more of the score of a Superman movie), but African rhythms are peppered throughout, perhaps in reference to Van Helsing’s Johannesburg background. There’s also a charming comic waltz for Ms. O’Hara and company (Well, it would have been comic if the lyric was funny.) and for those who were really hoping to hear at least one song in the familiar Wildhorn vein there’s an “Into the Fire” clone late in Act II called “Deep in the Darkest Night.”
But despite weak material, director Des McAnuff has mounted a succulently beautiful production that delights the eyes as much as the authors punish the ears. Some of the show’s most beautiful moments come in the fluid coordination of Heidi Ettinger’s set (a gorgeous assortment of pieces accentuated by seductive curves and stained glass) and Howell Binkley’s lights with Wildhorn’s music set to Doug Besterman’s orchestrations. Every set change becomes an interesting ballet with music seeming composed to introduce each piece as it glides in and out on cue. Catherine Zuber’s period costumes are highlighted by some smashing and smart Gibson Girl dresses. (…) Yup, Dracula has all the ingredients needed to become a big Broadway hit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pour myself a very large cognac and cry myself to sleep.

Man darf gespannt sein auf weitere Kritiken und darauf, ob die Show floppt oder das Publikum den Verrissen zum Trotz die Show stürmt.


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