When terror is sung | Culture

When terror is sung | Culture


To this genre belong The little store of horrors, on a carnivorous plant that feeds on customers of the florist, Evil Dead, which leads to the paroxysm the series B roll of the eighties movie Rocky Horror Picture Show, which transforms Dr. Frankenstein into a glamorous transvestite from outer space. Precisely the story written by Mary Shelley in 1818 also emerges The young FrankensteinMel Brooks' masterpiece from 1974, which became a Broadway musical a decade ago and which premiered in Madrid in November. It is also touring Spain Vlad, the musical, a free adaptation of the novel Dracula, of Bram Stoker, with which the theatrical composition Plácido Domingo Jr, the son of the famous Madrid-born tenor, premiered.

Winks to the movie

In a season, with more musical premieres than ever, The young Frankenstein It shines on the billboard thanks to a score, a staging and a cast care for detail. Esteve Ferrer, its director, was clear that, if they were going to premiere on the Gran Vía, they should be ambitious. "Our neighbors are Broadway titles with spectacular appearances, we could not make a discrete native production," recalls the Barcelonan. As soon as he received the order, he went to work on a staging where they took advantage of each element: platforms go up and down, a library appears and, suddenly, the whole stage becomes a forest. "Creativity was our asset to compete with the big franchises," adds the director, who had the endorsement of the success of The Addams family, currently in Barcelona.

It is not the first work of Mel Brooks that is programmed in Spain. The Producers premiered in 2006 with their approval. Brooks, 92, has not seen this montage, but has received information through his representative. "He told us that he had exceeded his expectations and that he was going to transmit it." Despite the great staging, The young man Frankenstein he trusts the libretto to conquer the public: in dialogues and songs overflowing with references to the film, of thick and sophisticated jokes and word games that the unconditional ones of the film know very well. That is why Esteve has revised the translation until the exhaustion. "We read the songs without music or rhythm as a test to see if they made sense for themselves," he recalls.

He also needed a group of solvent interpreters to undertake the task. Víctor Ullate Roche, a regular of the musical productions, plays Dr. Frankenstein Jr, the scientist who only wishes to flee from the family name to end the stigma of his Transylvanian ancestors. "He has overcome the challenge of recreating a character anchored in the collective imagination", argues the character, rounding out the cast Cristina Llorente, an exuberant Inga, after four seasons in The Lion King; Jordi Vidal as Igor, who carries the weight of comedy (and the hump); Teresa Vallicrosa, who gives Frau Blücher a great stage presence; Albert Gràcia, Pumbaa in the Disney musical for several years, as the monster that offers a tap lesson on platforms; and Marta Ribera, one of the current stars of the musical theater, who becomes here the self-centered fiancée of Frankenstein. "She is unbearable but she also has her heart," says the actress and singer.

The play 'The young Frankenstein'.
The play 'The young Frankenstein'.

The score of The young man … he did not convince the critics in the United States, nor swept the Tony Awards, nor did he inherit the timeless anthems as the works of Webber or Sondheim have done, but the combination of music hall, standards Broadway and ballads works as a vehicle to grease a stage proposal that replicates a cult movie today. "He has an impeccable soundtrack that makes comedy flourish in one of the funniest works you can see in Madrid," says Ferrer about his new creature, who will be at the Philips Gran Vía Theater of Light all season.

Scene from 'Vlad, the musical'.
Scene from 'Vlad, the musical'.

A heroic vampire

Plácido Domingo Jr. has grown up among the curtains of the most important opera coliseums in the world. He, however, has devoted his career to writing songs for superstars of the rock like Michael Bolton or Diana Ross, to sing boleros and, in recent times, to compose a musical. The son of Madrid's most famous tenor premiered on December 14 at La Línea de la Concepción Vlad, the musical, a free adaptation of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. "Several years ago I read the novel and quickly visualized it, I think the subject is as immortal as the character itself", says the 53-year-old musician during the interview, at the beginning of December, minutes before starting one of the rehearsals in Madrid . "I did not like how the cinema and other works had conceived the character so I decided to recreate it", details this theatrical version originally written in English and translated by the actor, director and screenwriter Javier Ibarz, who takes the characters and the time to shape a new approach. "My Dracula is a hero, almost a martyr, when people know him, he will fall in love with him."

The objective of Domingo son has been to create a great show of epic dimensions in the style of The Phantom of the Opera Y The Miserables, with lyric singers such as José Julián Frontal, who plays Van Helsing and music as Carlos Valledor, Vlad himself. "The music is romantic and very melodic, far from the usual rock style in musical theater", describes the composer.

It is not the first time that someone creates a musical about these creatures of the night. Argentine author Angel Mahler premiered Dracula, in 1991, at Luna Park in Buenos Aires and a decade later, the acclaimed composer Jeckyll and HydeFrank Wildhorn brought Bram Stoker's argument to La Jolla Playhouse in California. In 2006, pop star Elton John, premiered Lestat, adaptation of the novel by Anne Rice, Interview with the vampire, with a discreet success. Vlad can only be seen on December 21 at the Congress and Exhibition Center of Avila and the 29th at the Carrión Theater in Valladolid. Both with live voices but pre-recorded orchestra. Domingo hopes that more dates can be added in 2019 in other Spanish cities and, who knows, if also on the other side of the pond, on Broadway. "It would be a dream, the English version we already have," says the author.

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