‘Dark Shadows’ set as red-blooded tuner

Cobert to compose, Holmes to pen lyrics

NEW YORK — The vampires in “Dark Shadows” did many things, but singing wasn’t one of them. Now they’ll finally get their chance.

Dan Curtis, producer-director-writer of the cult TV horror soap, is bringing “Dark Shadows,” the musical, to the stage. Bob Cobert, who wrote the scores for the 1966 TV series and its subsequent 1991 NBC incarnation, will compose. Rupert Holmes (“The Mystery of Edwin Drood”) will pen the lyrics; he and Curtis, who is also directing the new tuner, will co-author the book.

Curtis produced and directed the miniseries “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance.” His stage experience, however, is somewhat more limited.

“How is this?” exclaimed the TV hyphenate. “Zero stage credits. None! But what the hell? If they can do ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ as a stage musical, why couldn’t we do ‘Dark Shadows’? It is a Gothic romance, and there is a ‘Dark Shadows’ story, which is now part of the culture.”

Thanks to cable, the “Dark Shadows” sudser has never been off the air since it first launched in 1966 and ran for five seasons.

Curtis knows there is a musical somewhere in those first 1,250 episodes. “The girl arrives on the train at this deserted train station,” he began. “Victoria Winters. ‘My name is Victoria Winters.’ The train pulls away in the darkness, mist and fog. The great house looms in the fog, and then she’ll sing her first song. We’ll release the vampire, Barnabus, from the coffin. He’ll see his lost love from 200 years ago. It’s a reincarnation story. Lush and scary.”

Curtis said Michael Wilson of the Hartford Stage Co. had expressed interest in giving the “Dark Shadows” musical its world premiere. “Somehow, some way, he wants us to get it up there before Broadway,” said Curtis.

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