Sink Your Teeth Into Broadway's DRACULA

Sink Your Teeth Into Broadway's DRACULA

Tom Hewitt & Melissa Errico--from

Tom Hewitt & Melissa Errico, from

Can't get enough Twilight or True Blood?  MTI is here to satiate your thirst for vampires with the 2004 Broadway musical DRACULA, now fully available for licensing.  The show, with music by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Civil War) and book and lyrics by the Tony Award winning team of Christopher Hampton and Don Black, boasts a dynamic rock-influenced score.  Wildhorn's characteristically soaring melodies display gothic overtones that capture both the intensely romantic and deadly natures of Dracula.  The piece poses exciting staging possibilities, such as flight, and its 19th century Transylvania setting is ripe with creative inspiration for costume and set designers alike.  Moreover, actors have the chance to put their own mark on  legendary characters such as Jonathan Harker, Victor Van Helsing, Mina, and of course Dracula himself.

This latest take on the 1897 Bram Stoker novel joins a long line of film and adaptations of the work, but Dracula didn't enjoy such popularity when it was first published. It was considered to be an entertaining read without much literary merit, and wasn't even close to being a bestseller. It wasn't until the 20th century that Dracula became the international phenomenon that it is today.  Here are a few film and stage highlights that helped the blood-sucking count become an international icon:

  • nosferatu-movie-score-poster-c10080076Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922): Made by German director F. W. Murnau, this film was highly popular in America as well as Europe, and was critically acclaimed. But while Dracula was public domain in the United States, it was under copyright in Europe-and Murnau hadn't secured the rights. After Bram Stoker's widow successfully sued Murnau, all copies of Nosferatu were destroyed, with only a few copies in America managing to escape unscathed.

  • Dracula, the Vampire Play (1927): The legal battle, however, brought the novel back into the public's consciousness.  Dracula suddenly became the book everyone had to read, if only to see what all the fuss was about. Eager to cash in on the Dracula craze, actor, playwright, and director Hamilton Deane asked the widowed Florence Stoker if he could adapt the novel to the stage.  His subsequent production-starring the most famous Dracula interpreter, Bela Lugosi, in New York-attracted Hollywood's attention.

  • Dracula (1931): The first authorized film version, this Dracula-an bela_lugosi_8adaptation of Deane's play directed by Todd Browning-is without question the most famous. In 2000, the Library of Congress declared it culturally significant, and it's now a part of the National Film Registry. Needing a box office hit to ensure its transition from silent films to the talkies, Universal Studios struck gold with Dracula, ensuring the futures of the film's title character, its star, Bela Lugosi, and the studio itself.

  • Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948): After nearly twenty bud_abbott_lou_costello_meet_frankensteinyears of Dracula-inspired films, the vampire had been transformed from a figure of horror to one of comedy. The inclusion of Bela Lugosi's Dracula alongside the antics of comedy team Abbot and Costello had seemingly done what not even Van Helsing could do: kill Dracula once and for all.

  • Dracula(1958): The British Hammer Films horrorofdracularevitalized the character-and the horror genre as a whole-with its gory adaptation. Christopher Lee's Dracula was dangerous, unpredictable, and seductive, a far cry from the more restrained portrayal generations of moviegoers were familiar with. Known as The Horror Of Dracula in the U.S., this darker, bloodier film made Dracula terrifying again, and is widely considered to be the best film version.

  • dracula3-1Dracula (1977 Broadway revival): As vampire films once again became more ridiculous, Deane's 1927 play arrived back on Broadway-this time, with Frank Langella as a romantic, less threatening Transylvanian count. Langella's performance, which he would later reprise on film, won a Tony Award, as did the production itself.

  • Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992): Francis Ford Coppola's film goes backbram-stokers-dracula-movie-poster1 to the original novel and expands upon it. Here, Dracula is originally a Hungarian knight in 1462. When his wife commits suicide, mistakenly believing that he's dead, Dracula vows to rise from the grave and avenge her. When he meets Jonathan Harker's wife, Mina, Dracula realizes that she is his wife's reincarnation. The most commercially successful adaptation of the novel, the film earned fairly positive reviews and three Academy Awards.

  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995): The '90s answer to Abbot and l_112896_fa95fd78Costello Meet Frankenstein, Mel Brooks' vampire parody goes after every Dracula cliché, causing audiences once again to view the character as over-the-top and harmless. The film sticks to the plot of the 1931 Dracula, specifically spoofs Bram Stoker's Dracula, and uses the bloody style of the earlier Hammer Dracula film.

  • dracula-20001Dracula 2000 (2000): This latest major Dracula film was produced by Wes Craven and directed by Patrick Lussier. Set in modern New Orleans, the film takes a great deal of liberties with the original plot. Vampire hunter Van Helsing has kept himself alive for over a hundred years with injections of Dracula's blood, and he and his daughter, Mary fight the newly awakened count. Like Bram Stoker's Dracula, Dracula 2000 offers an origin: here, Dracula had been Judas Iscariot, and became a vampire after neither heaven nor hell accepted him.

logo_200x200_000338From serious drama to horror flick to parody, Dracula-like its title character-has proven difficult to kill.  And with the musical version of Dracula available, theatres across the country and the world can help keep the legend alive.  For more information or to license DRACULA, check out our MTI show page. To discuss DRACULA, visit its MTI ShowSpace page.