Tanz der Vampire

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Sei bereit!

Tanz der Vampire is an Austrian musical with music by Jim Steinman and lyrics by Michael Kunze. It's The Musical of The Fearless Vampire Killers, and has the same general story, but with several alterations. All in all, it's a decidedly more raucous, over-the-top experience than the movie, chock full of Alternate Character Interpretation.

The basic plot features The Hunter Professor Abronsius and his timid, feeble assistant Alfred arriving in a Transylvanian village straight out of Hammer Horror. Alfred falls in love with the innkeeper's daughter Sarah, and she toys with him a bit before running off to the local castle instead. Of course, said local castle is infested with vampires, lead by Count von Krolock and his Flamboyant Gay son Herbert (who has his own eye on Alfred), and Sarah prepares to become Krolock's new Queen of the Night at a lush vampire ball. Alfred, unaware that she's happier this way, valiantly tries to rescue her (when he's not screaming like a girl). Meanwhile, Sarah's father is turned into a vampire himself, and he goes on to turn Magda, the beautiful and chaste maidservant he's been lusting after for years, into his undead girlfriend.

There was a Broadway version called Dance of the Vampires, but mentioning this is a good way to get hit in the face by fans of the European version. (Indeed, the American producers fired Jim Steinman from the project for protesting their Executive Meddling.) In Europe this show is largely regarded as the exception to the idea that all Vampire Musicals will fail, which otherwise applies as strongly as it does in America (Frank Wildhorn's Dracula tried to mimic the Tanz formula by having the score rewritten as a rock show and even casting perennial Krolock Thomas Borchert as Dracula. It lasted only a little longer than it did on Broadway).

Productions so far:

  • Vienna, Austria, 1997: The original production, with the late Steve Barton as Graf von Krolock and Cornelia Zenz as Sarah. It won a few IMAGE Awards (the European equivalent to the Tonys), including Best Actor in a Musical (Steve Barton) and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Eva Maria Marold as Magda), and featured costumes by Sue Blane of The Rocky Horror Picture Show fame.
  • Stuttgart, Germany, 2000: Responsible for pretty much saving the theater that put it on. Originally starred Kevin Tarte as Krolock and Barbara Köhler as Sarah. Introduced a new song, "Stärker als wir sind", that replaced Sarah's dream ballet in the original production.
  • Tallinn, Estonia, 2000 (Vampiiride tants): A loosely staged concert version, with Jassi Zahharov as Krolock and a then-15-year-old Nele-Liis Vaiksoo as Sarah, in the role that launched her career.
  • New York City, United States, 2002 (Dance of the Vampires): The only English-language production to date was a Broadway disaster, due in part to severe Executive Meddling. It changed the story a lot and turned the humor from darkly funny to slapstick and unfunny (and added to the idea that Vampire Musicals don't work on Broadway). Starred Michael Crawford as Krolock, Mandy Gonzales as Sarah, and Rene Auberjonois as Professor Abronsius. Jim Steinman hates this version.
  • Hamburg, Germany, 2003: Thomas Borchert as Graf von Krolock and Jessica Kessler as Sarah. Both of them are now strongly associated with these roles, Borchert to the point of being typecast (see listings below). The cast of the film version of The Lord of the Rings stopped by in a highly publicized event while they were in town for the German premiere of one of the films in the trilogy, leading to a picture of Borchert in full Krolock makeup and costume with Hammer Dracula Christopher Lee.
  • Warsaw, Poland, 2005 (Taniec Wampirow): Introduced new costumes, sets and orchestrations. Featured Lukasz Dziedzic as Graf von Krolock and Malwina Kusior as Sarah. Also starred a then-nineteen-year-old newcomer named Jakub Wocial as Herbert, who's now one of the biggest rising stars in European musical theater.
  • Tokyo, Japan, 2006 (Vampiru no Dansu): Entirely reconfigured production (restoring Sarah's original dream ballet rather than "Stärker als wir sind," the only production to do so) with Japanese stage legend Yuichiro Yamiguchi as Graf von Krolock and Chichiro Otsuka and Tamaki Kenmoci alternating as Sarah.
  • Berlin, Germany, 2006: Thomas Borchert as Graf von Krolock and Lucy Scherer as Sarah. Also notable for the casting of Deutschland sucht den Superstar (the German equivalent of Pop Idol) winner Alexander Klaws as Alfred.
  • Budapest, Hungary, 2007 (Vámpírok bálja): New sets and costumes; still playing. Currently, the role of Krolock alternates between Géza Egyházi and Gábor Bot (and Bálint Merán), while Zsanett Andrádi, Lotty Kovács and Anna Török share the role of Sarah. Máté Kamarás, who understudied Herbert in the original Vienna production, has also alternated in the part in Budapest.
  • 10th Anniversary Concert in Vienna, Austria, 2007: Thomas Borchert as Graf von Krolock and Marjan Shaki as Sarah. Minimal staging using the Polish costumes except for the finale.
  • Oberhausen, Germany, 2008: Kevin Tarte and Jan Ammann alternate playing Graf von Krolock (Tarte's enthusiasm for the role makes it hard to understand why Borchert keeps getting it when he's tired of it). In the spirit of representing many international Tanz productions, Nele-Liis Vaiksoo reprises her career-making role as Sarah, while the alternate Magda and Alfred (Tímea Kecskés and Tibor Héger) hail from the Hungarian cast. Jakub Wocial appears as alternate Herbert.
  • Tokyo, Japan, 2009: Summer revival featuring the original Japanese cast save for a few switchouts (Sylvia Grab replacing Yuko Miyamoto as Magda, for example).
  • Vienna, Austria, 2009: Thomas Borchert as Graf von Krolock, with Marjan Shaki as Sarah, as well as original cast members Gernot Kranner and James Sbano as Abronsius and Chagal respectively and original Hamburg Magda Anna Thorén returning to the show as well.
  • Stuttgart, Germany, 2010: Kevin Tarte and Jan Ammann alternate playing Graf von Krolock, with Lucy Scherer and Sabrina Auer alternating as Sarah. Linda Konrad returns from the Oberhausen production as Magda, joined by horny cohort Jerzy Jeszke, who has played Chagal in Hamburg, Berlin and Oberhausen. Overall, many of this production's cast have appeared in at least one production of the show somewhere, which is fitting considering this production began as the result of winning a contest to determine what show would replace Wicked for six months till a new show takes the theater. The production transferred to Berlin in November 2011, with Drew Sarich taking over the role of von Krolock.
  • Antwerp, Belgium, 2010 (Dans der Vampieren): Was briefly in the stage version of Development Hell following a proposed winter 2009 opening. An official cast recording has been released.
  • Seinäjoki, Finland, 2011 (Vampyyrien Tanssi): Premiered in September 2011. The script was translated by Marika Hakola, and the show will star Jyri Lahtinen as von Krolock, Raili Raitala as Sarah, and Ville Salonen as Alfred. The production's Facebook page can be found here. Someone seems to have decided to use the title Dance of the Vampires in the logo (according to fans connected to the show, English is more prevalent in advertising in Finland), but no worries, the production will be the European version.
  • St.Petersburg, Russia, 2011 (Бал вампиров): Premiered at the same time the Finnish production did, at the St. Petersburg State Theater of Musical Comedy. This production also has a Facebook page. Starring Ivan Oghozin as von Krolock, Elena Gazaeva as Sarah, and Georgy Novitsky as Alfred.

The Oberhausen cast performed a multilingual version of the finale in 2008, giving hints that there may be Italian and Portuguese productions as well in the future. There have been talks afoot about a production in the UK, but producers are reportedly unwilling to touch it for the two-fold reason of a) the show's English title not being changed to something other than Dance of the Vampires, and b) the show's unfortunate Broadway reputation under said title. Rumors of a new English version being in the works ultimately proved to be unfounded at the moment, but this does not preclude later plans.

Fan-projects are abundant with this musical right now. A LiveJournal user is translating the songs from the show into Spanish (here is the Spanish version of "Totale Finsternis") and there are a few tracks existing from Dança dos Vampiros, an amateur Portuguese performance put together by a group of fans. There are also a couple clips from a pre-actual-production Hungarian fan album floating about the Internet. Suggestions have been made for various translations or fan recordings, but nothing other than these have yet come out of it.

Now has a developing Character Sheet.

Tropes used in Tanz der Vampire include:
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Abronsius, though to be fair, he's only really capable of being distracted by books.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Regarded by many as being this to The Fearless Vampire Killers.
  • A Fete Worse Than Death: The Midnight Ball, if you happen to be a mortal, and thus on the menu.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sarah is a lot more interested in the Count than she is in Alfred, the quintessential Dogged Nice Guy.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Compared to the original film's relentless, almost Satanic antagonist, Graf von Krolock in the musical is a noble, sad Anti-Hero who's compelled to destroy what he loves and longs for in spite of his own guilt over it. Sarah was The Ingenue in the film, but in The Musical, she's an ambitious free spirit longing to be corrupted into something dark and powerful. Alfred's denseness is largely ignored here, replaced purely by timidness and extreme awkwardness, while Magda is developed into something of a Tsundere. Finally, while Herbert is purely a threatening, unsettling Sissy Villain in the film, here he's actually in giddy, infatuated love with Alfred rather than looking only to bang him, and subsequent productions have grown fond of implying that they would make a better couple than Alfred and Sarah and raising a moment of sympathy for Herbert when he's spurned.
  • Altum Videtur: The Latin chant in "Carpe Noctem", mixed with Greek, translates as follows:

Day of anger, master / Free me, lord.
Day of anger, master / Grant me rest, lord.
All rejoice, master / The sacrificial lamb, lord.
Day of anger, master / Holy! Holy! Rejoice!

    • And of course, the title itself is "Seize The Night".
  • And Call Him George: The more innocent interpretation of Herbert tackling Alfred. Very much dependent on the actors involved.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: And then Alfred was a vampire.
  • Anything That Moves: Herbert (in some interpretations.)
  • Arc Words: "Sei bereit!" ("Be prepared!")
  • Audience Participation: The finale of the show is written with a breakdown and chant echoing Queen's "We Will Rock You", in which the audience is encouraged to join in. Also, Alfred attempts to hide from Herbert in the audience, and many vampires enter or exit that way (sometimes biting audience members in passing).
  • Bath Kick: Sarah does this in Act II, when she shows Alfred the huge sponge the Graf gave her as a gift.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: While none of the vampires at the ball are named, and some are just in random period costumes, a number of them appear to be historical figures- among them in the German productions are Napoleon and Josephine, Richard III and his queen, William Shakespeare, Queen Christina of Sweden, Louis XIV and Elizabeth I. (And they all get spiffy leather versions of their costumes in the finale, to boot.)
  • Big Bra to Fill: Magda is supposed to be extremely voluptuous- big chest, big hips- and as this is a stage show this means that the opposite effect tends to happen when she's played by petite actresses. Drawn-on cleavage and padding around the hips and behind are standard for these Magda actresses.
  • Big Breasts, Big Deal: Magda falls into Type 1 as a human and Type 3 as a vampire.
  • Bishonen: Herbert is usually an eerily accurate three-dimensional version of this trope, going beyond the typical Pretty Boy.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Magda's white nightgown serves much the same purpose.
  • Bolero Effect: "Ewigkeit". (The melody's original title was in fact "Great Boleros of Fire" before it was used here.)
  • Book Ends: Not in the usual ending, however, an alternate ending used by the 2009 Vienna version ends with the Professor wandering around lost, calling for Alfred in exactly the same way Alfred was for him in the beginning.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: Girl meets vampire. Also, boy meets gay vampire.
  • Break the Cutie: Depends on the actor, but happens a lot with Alfred.
  • Chase Scene: Abronsius and Alfred after Chagal, Koukol after Magda, Koukol after Sarah and Alfred, wolves after Koukol...
  • Candlelit Bath: Sarah settles in for a nice hot bath midway through act I... and then Graf von Krolock swoops in on her from the skylight.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Many of the melodies in the show are rebuilt from little-known (except "Totale Finsternis") songs that not many people other than Jim Steinman's fan base would know to begin with. The entirely new lyrics disqualify it from Jukebox Musical status - most of these melodies are used drastically differently than how they were originally written, or with different implications.
  • Crowd Song: Knoblauch, Ewigkeit
  • Cute Monster Girl: Magda as a vampire, if the actress doesn't go too heavy on the horror makeup. Some of the other female vampires have this going on too - it's very much an individual choice except with Sarah in the end, who is this by default.
  • Dances and Balls: Okay, just look at the title.
  • Dark Reprise: It's highly dependent on the actors' individual choices, but the reprise of "Totale Finsternis" at the ball can be played as one of these- namely, if the actress playing Sarah acts regretful and frightened when she sings that "[she] set out to lose [her] heart and lost [her] mind instead" after being bitten, and if the Graf suddenly seems cold and forceful toward her.
    • The reprise of He, Ho, Professor definitely is one of these.
  • The Dead Can Dance: There's dancing throughout the whole thing, but this trope is best served by the Act II finale.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Magda, and occasionally Graf von Krolock.
  • Death Is Such an Odd Thing: The Trope Namer, after a song Magda sings while looking at Chagal's dead body and dealing with mixed feelings about his death.
  • Demoted to Extra: Rebecca (Sarah's mother and Chagal's wife) disappears from the show three-quarters of the way through the first act.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Herbert. Most of the time, anyway.
  • Dirty Old Man: Chagal, in particular with regards to Magda.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Some amateur productions have replaced the character of Herbert with an equally Alfred-obsessed daughter to the Count (variously named Herbertine, Bertine, Herberta, Helena or - completely randomly(?) - Integra).
  • Damsel in Distress: Inverted: Sarah doesn't want to be saved.
    • And rather cruelly averted with a side of Fridge Logic by the fact that neither Alfred nor the Professor thinks to protect Magda from Chagal after he's been bitten, even though she's the natural vampirism target after Sarah given that she's apparently the only other attractive young woman in the village. And then when she is attacked, they leave her body behind without so much as a cross to hold her...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Unhappy, dreamy teenager named Sarah is lured into a fantastic, twisted world by a much older and not quite human nobleman who offers to give her everything she desires, but for a terrible price. Hmmmm. (And yes, while Sarah was indeed named Sarah in the film as well, the dynamic in the musical is different enough to make one wonder if this was a conscious Shout-Out.)
    • Obliterating any passing resemblance of the original story to that of Phantom of the Opera supposedly was Michael Crawford's motivation for insisting on or agreeing to drastic changes for the Broadway version.
  • Downer Ending: Depending on interpretation, because the last scene (the vampires win and they accept the audience into their fold as the newest undead) is very dark, while the pounding finale number makes that sound rather fun.
  • Dream Ballet: Sarah has one in Act I and Alfred has one in Act II. The difference between the two is that Sarah imagines becoming a vampire as a beautiful, romantic and passionate experience at a ball full of lovers, while Alfred imagines her being tricked and raped while surrounded by rotting corpses. The actual ball ends up closer to Sarah's dream, but the ending is closer to Alfred's (except without the rape, thank goodness, and it's Sarah who brutally attacks and turns Alfred, not the other way around.)
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Summed up pretty concisely in the song "Für Sarah".
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: "Die unstillbare Gier".
  • Epic Rocking: "Carpe Noctem" clocks in at 9:38.
  • Epic Song: "Die roten Stiefel/Das Gebet" ("The Red Boots/The Prayer"). Sarah's dream sequence song (already a big production number in itself) is quickly followed by first Rebecca praying... then Magda joins her... then it's the two women and Alfred... then the whole village... and then Sarah starts singing counterpoint over it and is herself joined by Graf von Krolock, while the music continues to grow in intensity and bright lights slowly come to point directly at the audience as well as the actors onstage- and more ensemble members stand and sing their parts in the aisles, until it all rises to a climax and the stage goes black except for the kneeling Sarah.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Herbert calls Alfred "mon cheri" as he flirts with him.
  • Executive Meddling: The severe postponing of the Belgian production, which was caused by the producers of the show suing for more government support money and as a result putting the show (which was already in rehearsals and scheduled to open in December 2009) on hold until at least October 2010.
    • The Polish production ended prematurely, purportedly because license holders didn't want to jeopardise the Berlin production that was about to open some 600km further away.
    • License holders for the show are famed for being adverse to any changes, up to and including already-written additional songs being scrapped because they would change the rhythm of the plot. Apart from the Broadway production, the only one that got away with significant choreography changes is the Japanese one.
    • Thomas Borchert is pretty sick of playing Krolock, but the producers of the Vienna revival pretty much refused to even audition any other comers. So guess who got pushed into the part again?
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Magda, between Acts I and II.
  • Face Revealing Turn: During "Draussen ist Freiheit (Reprise)", Sarah falls to the ground, and Alfred helps her up. When she turns around again, she suddenly has vampire fangs, which Alfred doesn't notice until she attacks him.
  • Fang Thpeak: One of the things that makes this musical harder for the actors than others is the requirement to sing around big freakin' fake teeth, so extra training is required for actors to overcome this trope.
  • Fan Service: To increase the joy of squealing fangirls upon seeing Herbert attempt to seduce Alfred, a bit of choreography was added in which Herbert grabs Alfred's... buttocks. And grins. Also, for the men in the audience, Magda's vampire look was made considerably sluttier when the show moved to Stuttgart.
  • Fiery Redhead: Magda.
  • Final Love Duet: Brutally, brutally subverted. See this page's entries for Face Revealing Turn and Twist Ending.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted- Alfred meets (and gawks at) Magda first, but falls in love with Sarah.
  • Flamboyant Gay: Herbert. And how.
    • Some actors have gone the extra distance and made him bisexual by groping the breasts of, winking at, and giving long, meaningful looks at while stroking the cheeks of female vampires at the ball.
  • Follow the Leader: The 2009 European tour of The Rocky Horror Show essentially turned Riff Raff and Magenta into Herbert and Magda.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: "Ewigkeit" ends with the vampires lunging directly at the audience as they walk up through the aisles. Vampires also appear in the stalls during both act finales.
  • French Maid: Averted- Magda doesn't dress like this. Not that her own tigh-bodiced, cleavage-boosting dress isn't just as fanservicetastic.
  • Gag Boobs: Played to advantage twice with Magda.
  • Gainaxing: Magda's costumes actually produce this effect in live-action.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sarah sometimes has these.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Averted somewhat, in that while the vampire ballgoers costumes are lush and flamboyant, they're also in varying states of decay.
  • Gratuitous English: Used several times throughout the Japanese production. The most obvious one has to be the chorus of Carpe Noctem.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: All of the vampires wear leather, vinyl and lace versions of their previous ball costumes in the finale (except Magda, whose costume is a variation on her tavern wench dress from the first act).
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Done and then subverted. Alfred is fascinated and smitten with the redheaded (and very busty) Magda- until he sees Sarah.
    • Of course, the rest of the villagers still want her.
    • Although, in several productions Sarah is redheaded, playing this completely straight.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Hey, that guy who understudied Herbert in Vienna/plays him in the Hungarian production is Death!
    • In the Vienna revival, Alfred and Sarah are also Romeo and "Julia". This makes the ending of Romeo and Juliet and Vampires particularly hilarious- it's the same as Tanz (heroine turns into a vampire in the final scene and turns the hero, and while they run off together, another character's efforts to contain and destroy vampirism instead allows them to spread and take over the world).
  • Hope Spot: For a while, it looks like Alfred and the Professor really have saved Sarah.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Averted by Chagal with his song Eine schöne Tochter ist ein Segen (A Beautiful Daughter is a Blessing): He complains about all men being swine while afterwards going on to seduce/harass tavern maid Magda, but he acknowledges that his opinion about men is based on his own behaviour.
  • The Igor: Koukol, who ups the standard Igor quotient by being not only hunchbacked, but also borderline retarded and apparently suffering from whatever it was Joseph Merrick had.
  • "I Want" Song: "Die roten Stiefel" for Sarah, and "Die unstillbare Gier" is a terribly dark twist on the trope for Krolock.
  • Impossibly Low Neckline: Magda, in both her costumes.
  • The Ingenue: Sarah's very existence plays with this trope. Her casting information flat-out calls her "pure and radiant, but wanting to be corrupted". She's very naive in some areas and borders on a temptress in others.
  • Insufferable Genius: Professor Abronsius
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Sarah in the bath, though the innocence is debatable.
  • Interspecies Romance: ...yeah, pretty obvious.
  • Ironic Echo: The vampires take the Professor's happy predictions of a brave new world at the end and twist them to their own purposes.
  • Irony: Hoo boy. The show ends with Alfred and Abronsius having wrested Sarah from Krolock's clutches, only for Sarah to sprout fangs and make a meal out of Alfred, turning him into a vampire too, while the whole time Abronsius remains blissfully unaware that he didn't just fail to limit the spread of vampirism, he's actually taking a couple of vectors for it out into the world.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Sarah spends the whole show longing for this.
  • Leitmotif: Several characters get them:
    • Graf von Krolock has the melody of "Gott ist tot".
    • Sarah and Herbert share a little three-note downward progression.
    • Magda has "Tot zu sein ist komisch".
    • Chagal has the melody of "Eine schöne Tochter ist ein Segen".
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Magda.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Herbert, in several productions - most notably the Hungarian version.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Herbert is in love with Alfred, who's in love with Sarah, who's in love with the count, who ends the chain by requiting Sarah's interest.
  • Love Interest: Averted, somewhat, in that Sarah's not all that interested in Alfred, and the song that is frequently touted as their "love duet" is actually Sarah complaining about her boredom and planning to leave without telling Alfred where she's going, while he says he loves her.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Krolock's song "Die unstillbare Gier" is essentially a lament over all the lovers he's lost over the years. Except that he turned them all.
  • Meaningful Background Event: The audience sees Chagal wake up as a vampire a while before Magda does.
    • Not to mention Sarah feasting on Alfred's blood in the penultimate scene while Professor Abronsius remains cheerfully convinced that he's saved the world from the undead menace.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both Magda and Sarah have aspects of this.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Magda never actually says this, but the look on her face when she catches Alfred staring at her huge tracts of land kind of says it all.
  • Mythology Gag: The one musical detail lifted directly from the film is the little 'ah-ah-ah' melody Sarah and Herbert both like to sing while bathing.
  • Never My Fault: Abronsius' general attitude, unfairly shifting blame to Alfred.
  • New Era Speech: The Professor's fourth-wall-breaking soliloquy in the end of Act II manages to hit all the standard notes- triumph, dismissal of his opponents, and predictions of a glorious future he has made possible ("the world will not be what it was")- and then the vampires enter and make it clear that he was right, a new era is dawning. It's theirs.
  • Not So Different: Alfred realizes that the vampires have human emotions and can feel remorse and pain after witnessing Krolock's graveyard soliloquy.
    • Not to mention all the sly parallels set up between Sarah and Herbert. Both are bored, lonely teenagers (though Herbert's been one for a long time) who enjoy bathing, they both have extremely protective fathers, they sing the same little song to themselves, and even their choreography around Alfred is similar.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: while the ball guests are clearly evil and almost zombielike, Krolock is capable of being a perfect gentleman, and there is a touch of sympathetic melancholy about him as well. Herbert, meanwhile, embodies many of the traits associated with seductive female vamps- but he's male.
  • Overprotective Dad: Chagal. Was nailing your daughter's door shut really necessary?
  • Parasol of Pain: The Professor saves Alfred by fending off Herbert with his umbrella. Yes, it's hilarious.
  • Patter Song: "Wahrheit", the Professor's big solo. Explicitly patterned on the works of Gilbert and Sullivan.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Sarah's ballgown.
  • Double Standard Rape (Male on Male): Depending on the actor. In some performances, this is what would have happened to Alfred if the professor hadn't shown up to scare Herbert off. Yet, it's still one of the funniest moments in the show.
  • Running Gag: Alfred forgetting where to place the stake, and the Professor's "Eins! Zwei! Drei!".
  • Scooby Stack: Alfred and the Professor.
  • Scullery Maid: Magda.
  • Sensual Slavs: Magda (and technically Sarah too).
    • ...and Herbert, depending on who's playing him.
  • Sexy Walk: Either Magda's costumes add that hip-wriggle and/or it's something the actress does.
  • She's Dead, Chagal: Magda's struggling ends and her arms go limp when she dies.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Sarah makes her appearance at the ball in a beautiful, elaborate ballgown, with her hair upswept and adorned with a tiara, at the top of a staircase. Before that point, she is always shown in her nightgown and occasionally with pigtails.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The entire musical is one big STSD story. The Professor and Alfred don't stop the vampires from taking over the world, if anything helping them do it. All the dancing and love duets were in vain, and it's quite depressing.
  • Sinister Masquerade Ball: Not a masquerade, per se, though Alfred and Abronsius do disguise themselves.
  • Spiritual Sequel: The Hungarian musical Drakula, which obviously took a lot of hints from Tanz in terms of choreography and music. But the most obvious homage has to be the changed ending - instead of Jonathan and Mina living happily ever after, they embrace, as a happy reprise plays, only for Mina to reveal her new fangs and bite Jonathan.
  • Spoiled Brat: Herbert, in some actors' portrayals.
  • Staking the Loved One: Rebecca refuses to do this, which means things don't end too well for Magda...
  • Stand in Portrait: In the opening of Act II, the vampires all masquerade as portraits in the castle when Sarah turns to them. When she looks away, they move and sing.
  • Surreal Horror: "Carpe Noctem", which involves a dance chorus that looks like ancient, decaying corpses, multiple Krolocks, bright flashes of light, spectacularly dissonant and anachronistic music, and Alfred's fear that he himself will be corrupted rendered in literally nightmarish terms.
  • Squee: The actor Máté Kamarás has fangirls. Máté as Herbert has very vocal fangirls.
  • Talent Double: Justified by the fact that the principal actors are still onstage during the DreamBallets.
  • You Are Too Late: An interesting case, seeing as the heroes' failure to save Sarah on time is made plain by the "victim" herself, who's now the same kind of monster they intended to save her from, rather than Krolock.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Magda and Sarah. Both are plenty feminine, but Magda's a lot more of a no-nonsense tough girl, while Sarah is a plucky dreamer.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: If you arrive in an inn full of garlic where everyone denies that there's a castle in the vicinity of the village...
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Occurs in the middle of the Finale.
  • True Love's Kiss: Mocked a bit, in that it's actually Sarah biting Alfred and coming up drooling blood, but the music while this happens is a reprise of their theme played an awful lot like Disney happy ending themes.
  • Twist Ending: After rescuing Sarah from the ball, Alfred holds her in his arms and comforts her, only to discover that he was too late- she's a vampire now, and she turns her fangs on him.
  • Überwald -- A bit obvious, though the villagers have officially given up on trying to protect any newcomers to their town and don't even acknowledge the castle, let alone tell people not to go near it.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Sarah doesn't want to be rescued by Alfred -- she'd rather stay with Graf von Krolock and become a vampire.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Magda is a Carla-Gugino-as-Sally-Jupiter lookalike in sleeveless nightgowns and cinched corsets. Herbert is a tall drink of gorgeous water in tight breeches. And so on.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Poor Magda...
    • And Alfred, depending on how it's played.
  • Voice Types:
    • Graf von Krolock is a dramatic bass-baritone. He can be either operatically inclined or have a more rock sound, or some combination of the two.
    • Sarah is a low soprano/high mezzo with a lot of belt range.
    • Alfred is a standard male ingenue tenor.
    • Professor Abronsius is a comic tenor with some falsetto parts that move into the soprano range. In Japan, he was a baritone, and the soprano elements were transposed down.
    • Magda is a mezzo, though the fact that she has to hit higher notes than Sarah on a few occasions means that she has been played by a soprano before, and generally the main requirement is that she be able to sound a little rougher around the edges than Sarah. In Hungary, this was emphasized by one of the Magda actresses understudying Sarah as well.
    • Herbert is a "baritenor" (either a very low tenor or a very high baritone). Sometimes his role and Alfred's share understudies; sometimes swings are cast to play either him or his father on short notice.
    • Chagal is a comic baritone.
    • Rebecca is an alto.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Herbert in most productions, though the level of whiteness seems to vary. Sometimes it's pure white, sometimes it's dark with heavy white streaks, sometimes the streaks are blond rather than white, sometimes it's blond with white streaks, sometimes it's just a very light solid blond. The personality to go with the trope is more variable, though it's happened. Averted completely by the Japanese production, in which he had long jet-black hair instead, and at least one amateur production presented him as actually having closely cropped mousy-blond hair that he did his best to keep anyone from knowing about, preferring wigs instead (as a side effect of apparently being mentally stuck in the eighteenth century).

The American production includes examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: Rebecca. She has a much bigger part than in the original, including changing Magda's solo "Death Is Such An Odd Thing" into a 50/50 duet with her. She also appears, and gets a reprise, in the second act.
  • Bad Export for You
  • Bondage Is Bad: Herbert announces his intention to spend his night with Alfred with "handcuffs, and wine, and candlelight...". Funny? Sexy? You decide.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: The show's failure to change the lyrics from the original songs in many cases is part of what killed it. Compare "God is dead/He will no longer be sought out/We live forever, drawn closer to the sun/But afraid of the light" to "I've been looking for an original sin/One with a twist and a bit of a spin...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Boris (at least until he's transformed into The Renfield) and Magda.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Having lost their vampire-killing materials, Alfred and the Professor are left to...open a curtain and have sunlight pour in, killing Krolock. At the Midnight Ball? What.
  • Development Hell: Hello. First, there was the innumerable amount of script changes and song-cutting/adding that went on because of so many people getting involved with the project. Then, there were several technical failures that cancelled preview shows and pushed the release date back. Then, the release date had to be pushed back further, due to it originally being just after a certain 2001 American disaster. (The producers - rightfully - felt that putting on a comedy about dead people would be in poor taste.)
  • Disposable Woman: Nadja and Zsa Zsa's only purpose in the show is to get kidnapped in the very first scene.
  • Double Take: Boris, upon noticing a transformed-Krolock:

There's a bat in the house.


  • Executive Meddling: A key reason the Broadway version turned out the way it did was because the producer felt American audiences would reject a European pop opera out of hand (after the subgenre's heyday in the 1980s) and wanted something funny. Combined with hiring Michael Crawford for Krolock, who didn't want to repeat his work in The Phantom of the Opera and was more than fine with the comic approach, the show was more or less doomed from the start; the details on the production and the differences between it and the original show are here and here.
  • GASP: Played for Narmy laughs when the Professor announced his intentions to hunt vampires *GASP!* at the inn. Every time he mentions the word vampire *GASP!*, the villagers can't hide their shock. It's lampshaded when, after a couple rounds of going back and forth, Abronsius refuses to say "vampire"(*GASP!*) where it would normally go in the sentence.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The show is infested with them. But the most groan-inducing comes from the Professor.

Abronsius:(Upon seeing the crypt) This looks pretty cryptic!

Von Krolock: Boris, why don't you leave those, you fucking idiot?

  • Perspective Flip: One way to interpret the show is that it's a Perspective Flip of the original, showing Sarah's side of the story - why, exactly, she's so interested in the Count.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: The main reason the show was hated so much was that it really didn't have any time to be a musical in the small space left in between jokes.
  • Right Behind Me:

Professor:We find ourselves in this infernal castle, not in daylight, but at night. When a...a...you know...
Von Krolock (right behind him):Vampire?
Professor: Vampire will be on the prowl.

  • Running Gag: "This is 1880-something!", "If that means what I think it means...", and "SUNSET!!!".
  • Shallow Love Interest: Sarah to Alfred, about ten times more than in the original. He falls in love with her (and says so, out loud) two seconds after seeing her naked. Sure, that's what is is...
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: "Listen...I'm straight. I'm Lutheran. I'm alive. And yet, I do find you strangely attractive..."
  • Typecasting: Michael Crawford's intense fear of being Type Cast was the main reason Krolock was changed into such a comic character. As he put it, he didn't want to be playing "the same guy with bigger teeth".