Twice Bitten: Fangs for your support

Critics' reactions may mean major overhaul for 'Lestat'

“Lestat” has at least one ardent fan.

The new tuner, the first venture from Warner Bros.’ theater division, boasts a high-profile pedigree, based on Anne Rice‘s “Vampire Chronicles” and featuring songs by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

But when it opened Jan. 8 in San Francisco for a pre-Broadway tryout, local critics bared their fangs (meaning a major overhaul is inevitable before the bloodsucker spectacular sweeps into Gotham for March previews and an April 13 bow at the Palace).

The San Francisco Chronicle called it “pure bland schmaltz.” Said the Mercury News, “For a vampire musical, ‘Lestat’ lacks teeth.” The Examiner review carried the headline “Bloody awful”; the Contra Costa Times warned of “death by boredom.” Variety sighed that it was too earnest and “rambling” (read review).

But it did land at least one stellar blurb — in the program bio for Rice, which reads like a Nobel bid and a four-star review in one:

“Anne Rice gives herself — her life in full — as a gift to the world in every spellbinding chapter, every carefully turned page, every meaningful word. Mere footprints of a life lived in art. Anne is grateful that these Broadway giants have adapted her creative endeavor in such a mesmerizing and captivating musical. This adaptation stands alone as a genuine masterpiece!”

Now if Rice could just buy out the show’s entire run.

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