Vampires! Comical! Serious!
The Japanese version of "Dance of the Vampires" will be performed by Toho starting July 2, 2006 in Tokyo at the Imperial Theater. A thrilling and comical battle develops between the vampire (Yamaguchi) and the professor (Ichimura).
The tone is different from the other Viennese productions like "Elisabeth" and "Mozart." The original work was a movie called "Vampires" made in 1967 by Roman Polanski. The professor and his cowardly assistant face the vampire Count Krolock to save the inn keeper's daughter Sarah. The ever bathing Sarah, the count's effeminate son, and others are the comic book like cast of characters who invite us to exchange feigned ignorance for laughter.
The first performance of the Viennese musical was in 1997. In 2002, it was brought to Broadway. The musical was produced by Polanski himself. Micheal Kunze, whose credits include "Elisabeth" and "Mozart" wrote the script. The music was composed by Jim Steinman who is known for the theme from the movie "Streets of Fire."
While the story itself is not very different from the movie, the lines bring in mind a lively rock ballad. The vampires' appeal comes from their appearence and disappearence around the audience and their acrobatic dancing.
Requesting the difficult role of an elderly person, was Ichimura who will play the role of the professor. Because it's a comical role, the lines are huge and having intense actions to manage. "The drama more than the singing supports the role, because he's funny while singing and serious trying to hunt the vampires. The musical is a captivating thriller you want to watch on stage," said Ichimura.
In the role of the count, Yamaguchi's singing is powerful. His beautiful voice is magnificent. "There are many exciting rhythms and gorgeous chords. With a well trained body, you can make it seem like you are scolding someone as you sing."
The Viennese musical has much appeal. According to Ichimura, "At any rate the story is very deep. Reading scenarios, overlapping practices, revealing thoughts and feelings. I can't refuse...it's fun."