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It sucks to be a singing vampire.

It couldn't happen to a better guy.

From "Bram Stoker's Dracula" to "Interview With the Vampire," movie auds have turned bloodsuckers into stars. So why do these fiends fail when it comes to headlining Broadway musicals?

This season, theatergoers witnessed yet another undead dud in Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Lestat," based on the novels of Anne Rice. It follows Frank Wildhorn's "Dracula: The Musical" (closed in 2004 after 157 perfs) and Jim Steinman's "Dance of the Vampires" (closed in 2003 after 56 perfs).

In other words, three strikes in the heart and you're really, really dead! Total tally of losses for these three tuners came to well over $30 million, and unless "Lestat" has a quick turnaround at the box office, it looks to be all red ink.

Curiously, Broadway hasn't always been inhospitable to vampires. The play "Dracula" put in 261 perfs during the 1927-28 season, shuttering at the start of summer, as most productions did in those pie-air-conditioned days. Then there was the Edward Gorey revival of "Dracula," in 1977, which ran nearly 1,000 perfs.

Maybe the problem is oral. It's just not possible to suck and sing at the same time.

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Title Annotation:THE CURSE
Author:Hofler, Robert
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 22, 2006
Words:196
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