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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lestat the Musical Horror

Just to be honest up front, I'm a fan of musicals. Love 'em. I'll blithely sing show tunes from Rent or Avenue Q or Singing in the Rain or whathaveyou given almost any opportunity and no audience. I'm also a fan of the Vampire Chronicles, or was when I was younger. So really, this musical should've been right up my alley. Really.

But oh, how wrong it all went. So very very bad. By the end of the first song, I was worried. By the end of the first act, I was ready to leave. By the end of the show, Rick and I went to Cafe Mason to split our usually Profiteroles au Chocolat and we both just kept mumbling to ourselves, trying to come up with something nice to say. The lighting - the lighting was very well done. Yeah. Um. Claudia's "More" song was kind of cute. Um. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

So I got to thinking about what all went wrong. Several things occurred to me. One is that they got the tone of Lestat's character all wrong. Lestat of "The Vampire Lestat" was a swaggering twenty-one year old. He starts the book basically saying, "Oh my god, Louis is such a whiner." And then he proceeds to tell you how it was from his more suck-the-marrow-out-of-life perspective. In the musical, Lestat seemed more driven to find companionship and always failing to choose the right companions, and was aware of it and was letting it destroy him. So, that departure didn't really help the story. Then they tried to cover the entire content of the nearly 500 page novel in a 2 hour musical. Bad move. And the cuts that were made basically left a vague charcoal sketch with a hint of homeroticism and a hint of family bonds and little else. Now, with Elton John at the helm, it's not a huge surpise that that's what he found interesting. But the whole Elton John factor really was another downfall. The whole thing was just so darned earnest. And what I realized pretty early on was that I like a little irony and a lot of sardonic wit in my modern musicals. So my favorites are Wicked and Urinetown and Rent rather than Phantom of the Opera. All of Elton John's musicals take themselves very seriously - The Lion King, Aida, etc.. So there's that problem. And sadly, at the end of the day, it just never gelled. None of the songs were especially compelling or catchy. And the slice of the material was just disappointing. But there's this lovely light effect with the curtain in their house in New Orleans that's just great. And well, some things are just so much better in print with only your mind to put forth visuals for you. I suspect this will have a very short run on Broadway, possibly using the patented Bialystock "Opening Night/Closing Night" sign. Woof.

Add to that that the Hilton gave us a big hassle as we were leaving the parking structure, attempting to charge us $36 apiece for parking instead of the usual $9, even though I'd confirmed the rate over the phone earlier in the day. I asked to speak to the manager after the parking guy wouldn't be reasonable, and instead of the manager, the security guard came down. I explained the scenario again, and he also wouldn't honor the commitment another employee made earlier in the day, asking the name of who I talked to, and refusing to believe me. He said, "Well, I just can't give you the benefit of the doubt." To which I got completely offended, because not only had they sent security instead of a manager, now the security guy was basically saying I was lying because although I could recall the basic gist of the call, I couldn't recall the specific name of the person I talked to because at the time I never assumed I'd need to know, because I believed the Hilton to stand by their word, not have any trouble, and didn't expect a full inquisition. Foolish me for trusting them to be honorable. At that point I said, "Well, that's your role as security, but that's also why I asked for a manager and not security, and so I really need to speak to a manager now because you've just basically called me a liar and I'm really offended now." He said, "That's not what I'm saying." I said, "That's exactly what you're saying. You're saying you can't give me the benefit of the doubt and there is no doubt that I called earlier today unless you believe me to be lying about that." Finally, the manager arrived, saying "This had better be good." He gave me a whole song and dance about how busy they were tonight, and I said I really didn't care at this point and that I'd called earlier, spoken to a Hilton SF employee, been told one thing, and now was expected to pay $27 more than I was told even though there was another garage I would've parked at had I gotten the right information earlier in the day. He too asked me the name of who I'd spoken to and chided me for not writing it down to which I responded that I had presumed that the Hilton was an honorable and customer focused business and that I wouldn't have any need to have this conversation. Finally he acquiesced and gave us the $9 rate, though at that point, I honestly felt that after a half hour of discussion, it should've been gratis, but regardless, we were finally out of there, concluding the most ill-fated night of theater in a long long time.


  • Your review matches that from a person at my work who loves musicals as well. At least Cafe Mason was good...

    Go You! for standing up to the Hilton people and getting the rate promised you.

    By Blogger Chris S, at 6:35 PM  

  • Write the Hilton corporate management; they'll want to know.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:58 AM  

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