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John and Taupin team for 'Lestat' tuner

“Dance of the Vampires” was so last year.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin are at work on a new musical, “The Vampire Lestat,” based on Anne Rice’s bloodsucking hero.

This latest undead tuner is expected to make it to Broadway in 2005, and marks the producing debut of Warner Bros. Theater Ventures. That newly formed arm of Warner Bros. will be joined by veteran producer Emanuel Azenberg, currently repped on Broadway with “La Boheme” and “Movin’ Out.”

John called Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire” one of his favorite novels. Even more special, he added, ” ‘The Vampire Lestat’ is the first stage musical that I’ve written with Bernie.”

John wrote “Aida” and “The Lion King” with lyricist Tim Rice.

Hypnotically yours

As for his part, Taupin wanted to make one thing very clear. “This is not a rock opera,” he stressed. “Our hope is that it will be stylish, sexy, intelligent, rich and hypnotically dark.” Not to mention something “Dance of the Vampires” never was — very successful.

The creative team also includes book writer Linda Woolverton (“The Lion King”) and director Robert Jess Roth (“Beauty and the Beast”).

Greg Maday will oversee the production on behalf of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which holds theatrical rights to the Rice properties.

Expect other Warners films to also make the transfer to the stage. While Warners has previously licensed its properties theatrically, most notably “42nd Street,” “The Vampire Lestat” marks the first venture in which Warner Bros. Theater will produce.

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