Trio set to scale musical 'Heights' for MTV original
By Zorianna Kit and Nellie Andreeva
Erika Christensen, Mike Vogel and Katherine Heigl are in final negotiations to topline "Wuthering Heights," MTV's musical adaptation of Emily Bronte's classic novel.
The movie, written by Max Enscoe and Annie deYoung, takes a contemporary look at the tragic story of revenge and romantic love between the offspring of the Earnshaws, who live at Wuthering Heights, and their genteel, refined neighbors the Lintons.
"Wuthering Heights" centers on the saucy and selfish Catherine Earnshaw (Christensen), who falls in love with Heathcliff (Vogel), an orphan adopted by the Earnshaws, but marries her neighbor Edgar Linton instead. Meanwhile, Linton's sister Isabella (Heigl) marries Heathcliff but escapes after his ill temper makes her life miserable.
The project marks Christensen's onscreen singing debut.
Suri Krishnamma is set to direct the movie, overseen at MTV by executive vp series and movie development Lois Curren and vp original movies Maggie Malina.
Christensen, repped by WMA, James/Levy/Jacobson and attorney Michael Fuller, next stars in Paramount Pictures' "The Perfect Score." Her credits include "The Banger Sisters," "Swimfan" and "Traffic."
Heigl, best known for her role on the series "Roswell" and the feature film "Valentine," was recently tapped to star in UPN's drama pilot presentation "Vegas Dick." She is repped by WMA and Untitled Entertainment.
Vogel, repped by CAA and Management 360, next stars in New Line Cinema's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and Warner Bros. Pictures/Gaylord Films' skateboarding feature "Grind." On TV, he co-stars on the WB Network series "Grounded for Life."
See the Box Office Announcement from the July 28th
New York Times (click here)
Ultimate Albums Air Date & Web Feature
VH1's "Ultimate Albums: Bat Out Of Hell" special with new interview (and piano playing) footage of Jim Steinman as well as most of Bat's key players premieres Sunday May 26, 10/9c. Visit VH1's Ultimate Albums: Bat Out Of Hell page which includes an exclusive interview with Jim as well as track by track liner notes, additional show times, a trivia game and more!
See the Full Page Dance of the Vampires New York Times Ad
There are ecstatic love duets, close encounters, unbridled dancing, wild comedy and, of course, bats and a madman named Boris. Sarah has to choose between earthly love with Alfred, or eternal passion with Krolock in the Vampire State Building. (complete Dance Of The Vampires story synopsis)
Playbill Feature On Vampire Cast, Creative Team & CD
Headline: Rando, Carrafa to Dance with Crawford and Vampires on Bway and CD
Byline: "If you think Broadway musicals suck now - Just you wait…"
The fangy tuner with music and lyrics by Jim Steinman (Whistle Down the Wind, the upcoming Batman) will be helmed by Urinetown director John Rando. The project will reteam the helmer with choreographer John Carrafa (Urinetown, Into The Woods). (read more)
No other casting has been confirmed as of yet, but Rene Auberjonois has been offered a role and is currently in negotiations, according to his agent Peter Strain.
Broadway.com Casting Story
Broadway.com featured a story about the tentative cast of Broadway's Dance Of The Vampires. Max von Essen is quoted as saying: “I saw the show in Vienna,” von Essen told Broadway.com. “The score is totally incredible. It’s pop meets opera meets rock. I didn’t understand a word of it over there, but I remember loving the music. My role, Alfred, is such a great role—it’s really made for me vocally and dramatically.” (Read the full story here)
The Creative Team Of Dance Of The Vampires (click here)
Dance Of The Vampire Schedule Changes & Group Sales Info
Preview and Opening Dates for Dance Of The Vampires are now as follows:
Previews Begin: Oct. 14th. (1st matinee Oct. 23rd.)
Opening Night: November 21st.
Orchestra seats for groups of 20 or more are $76 for every night EXCEPT Saturday Evening.
Saturday Evening Groups Sales Tickets are $104.50
Group sales info. is available by calling 212 398 8383 or 800 223 7565
NYTimes Dance Of The Vampires Ad and AMEX Ticket Offer
An ad is scheduled to run in this Sunday's New York Times putting advance tickets on sale for American Express Gold, Platinum, Centurion and select Corporate card holders. This offer is tentatively scheduled to be valid May 5th - May 19.
Vittoria! (Aida) OperaBabes
There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the Steinman produced track Vittoria! (Aida) as recorded by the OperaBabes. This information is direct from Sony and is, hopefully, accurate.
* Jim's original mix of Vittoria! is on the FIFA World Cup 2002 CD in most territories outside of the UK (where it has been replaced by One Fine Day).
* On June 10th (tentative date) a single including a Vittoria! remix will be released worldwide, but again, different territories are free to choose another track if they desire.
* A remix of Vittoria! is slated to appear on the OperaBabes debut release Beyond Imagination worldwide but NOT on the initial UK recording. The UK will get the Vittoria! remix as an added track in conjunction with a TV ad campaign in the Fall as part of a Christmas sales promotion.
"Vittoria!" is MAGNIFICO
The Jim Steinman produced Vittoria (Aida) is now available in certain regions of the world on "Fever Pitch - Official 2002 Fifa World Cup." Other release dates are as follows: France May 7 th, US - May 21st, Europe - May 25th. Please note - Steinman's track is not scheduled to be on the OperaBabes debut CD "Beyond Imagination" or the FIFA World Cup UK version. Order accordingly as you won't want to miss this stunner!
Tell Me All About It
Jim has interviewed (and played piano for) an upcoming VH1 program. "Ultimate Albums - Bat Out Of Hell" is tentatively scheduled to air in late May and also features interviews with many of Bat Out Of Hell's contributors. "Ultimate Albums'' is a new series that examines a single important record in each weekly one-hour episode, recounting in detail why it connected the artist and the audience, and how it forever changed their lives and our culture. (more about the series)
To Hell With That!
The Bat Out Of Hell II : Back Into Hell Deluxe Edition release has been canceled.
(Variety) USA Ostar Theatricals, Robert Boyett Theatricals and Lawrence Horowitz have joined David Sonenberg and Andrew Braunsberg as producing partners on "Dance of the Vampires." Barry Diller and Bill Haber's USA Ostar is currently repped on Broadway with the revival of "Noises Off." Horowitz, exec producer of TV's "A Moment of Truth" movies, had been a producer on the Broadway productions of "Electra" and "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues." Boyett made his Broadway producer debut last autumn with "Hedda Gabler" and has also invested in "The Crucible," "Sweet Smell of Success" and "Topdog/Underdog." The veteran TV producer brought "Laverne & Shirley" and "Bosom Buddies," among other shows, to the tube.
"Dance of the Vampires" is based on Roman Polanski's 1967 film "The Fearless Vampire Killers." After a long run in Vienna, the musical by composer Jim Steinman and lyricist-book writer Michael Kunze was originally announced to open last fall at the Minskoff Theater. After the events of Sept. 11, it was pushed back a full year to September 2002. Now it has been moved to Nov. 14 due to changes in the creative team. Co-directors John Caird and Steinman have been replaced by John Rando ("Urinetown"). David Gallo is the new set designer. Other new names will be forthcoming, but Michael Crawford continues as the headliner.
That's Opera, Babe!
Jim has completed work producing a song for the Opera Babes. Titled "Vittoria!" - a composition by Giuseppe Verdi, the track will be featured on the spring 2002 Sony UK FIFA WORLD CUP CD as well as on the upcoming CD by the Opera Babes. Jim has also interview in support of the project.
The Opera Babes are soprano Rebecca Knight and mezzo-soprano Karen England. The two young ladies were picked to sing at the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League in 2001 after being spotted singing on the streets outside the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, England. Soon after they were signed to a record deal with Sony UK.
Back Into Hell...Again.
Meat Loaf's BAT OUT OF HELL II: BACK INTO HELL Expanded Into Two-CD DELUXE EDITION Featuring Three Versions Of 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)' to be released March 19, 2002. Press Release
NEW GARBO MUSICAL TO OPEN IN SWEDEN THIS YEAR
A new Swedish musical about the life of reclusive Swedish-born film legend Greta Garbo will open in Stockholm in September, Swedish news agency TT reported.
"Garbo the Musical" will feature new material about the star recently released by her relatives in the United States and music inspired by pop star Celine Dion, producer Mikael Hellqvist told the agency. Read More.
DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES - The Most Successful Musical Of 2001
Stella Entertainment Press Release - Stuttgart
Market Leader STELLA Entertainment AG's production of DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES has been seen by more than 600,000 visitors this year and is the most successful German musical of 2001. In addition, the trade magazine Musicals named DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES the distinguished recipient of the 2001 Reader's Choice Award for "Favorite Long-Running Musical."
The numbers speak for themselves! "DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES is the most successful musical in Germany," explains Klaus von der Heyde, Chairman of the Board of STELLA Entertainment AG. "It's a musical that's appealed to a completely new target group and has allowed us to bring a younger demographic of visitors into our theaters."
Since March 31, 2000, when the VAMPIRES began their mischief, crowds of people have found their way to Stuttgart - and more continue to come. On the 12th of December, 2001 the one-millionth visitor experienced DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES live in Stuttgart.
There are big plans in the coming years for Vampires. "The musical is doing so well that we plan to keep it in Stuttgart until at least 2004," said Klaus von der Heyde. In addition to this achievement, DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES is expected to become the first original German-language production to transfer to Broadway, New York in the autumn of next year. German Press Release
There is a "news only" list you can subscribe to. Join and you'll receive automatic alerts (that will include website & show updates plus special information) direct to your e-mailbox.
Every hour of waiting just enhances our lust…
On October 5, 2001, David Sonenberg, producer of Dance Of The Vampires confirmed that the show would not open in April 2002 as had been initially planned. The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have made it necessary to reschedule. Here is the excerpt from the New York Times:
Delay for 'Vampires'
There is another Broadway postponement to report: "Dance of the Vampires," a musical based on the 1967 Roman Polanski film "The Fearless Vampire Killers," will not be seen this season.
Its producer, David Sonenberg, said yesterday that he had decided to push back the show's opening until next fall. The show, originally scheduled for late April, will instead open on Oct. 24 at the Minskoff Theater.
Mr. Sonenberg said most of the show's creative team, including John Caird, the co-director, was based in London, which caused myriad logistic delays. "We haven't been able to do anything productive since all this happened," he said. "We just realized there was no way to open before the Tony cutoff."
Coming To Broadway October 24, 2002!
DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES
A new musical by Jim Steinman and Michael Kunze
Based on the film by Roman Polanski
Michael Crawford returns to Broadway for the first time since his Tony Award®- winning performance in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES is a hot-wired fairy tale in which an aristocratic, charismatic vampire, Count Von Krolock, jousts with a young passionate student, Alfred, to win the body and soul of a beautiful eighteen year old virgin, Sarah, who only knows that she wants…more!!!
From an award-winning creative team comes the musical event of the season. DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES is a spectacular rollercoaster ride, twisting and turning from romance to comedy to horror, all set against an opulent score and explosive dance.
Get ready for a total eclipse over Broadway.
NEW YORK (Variety) - Fourteen years after his blood-letting turn in "The Phantom of the Opera,'' actor Michael Crawford returns to Broadway this season in another musical of the macabre, "Dance of the Vampires.''
Based on Roman Polanski's 1967 movie spoof "The Fearless Vampire Killers," the show opens April 11 at the Minskoff Theater. Full Story
Casting Begins and Tentative Opening Dates Announced!
Casting for Dance Of The Vampires will begin September 4th in New York. Rehearsals are slated to start January 7, 2002. According to current plans, the first preview at Broadway's Minskoff Theater will be on March 5th and the show will officially open a month later on April 11th. All this point, all dates remain tentative.
And The Melody's Gonna Make Me Fly…
Steve Barton, Tanz der Vampire’s original Count von Krolock, died July 21, 2001. May he rest without pain, without fear. Godspeed, Steve.
Holy Garbo, Batman!
A long list of varied projects are still in development and making very good progress...they include, among others, Warner’s development of the Steinman/Ives musical Batman. MTV is still slated to produce Wuthering Heights California for next season, and Jim is creating yet another new musical based on the life of Greta Garbo. Greta Garbo The Musical is tentatively scheduled to open in 2002 in Stockholm, Sweden before, hopefully, moving to Berlin, London’s West End and Broadway. The show features a book by Warner Brown. Music will be composed and arranged by Michael Reed and Jim Steinman. The show’s director will be Scott Faris.
A WICKed Tribute!
John Wick, award-winning author and game designer (best known for his work on Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea for AEG), is developing a new Role Playing Game called Neverland and inspired by the music of Jim Steinman.
The Windy Cities:
Whistle Down The Wind - UK Tour 2001 - 2002
Design by PAUL FARNSWORTH
Lighting by NICK RICHINGS
Choreography by HENRY METCALFE
Musical director DAVID STEADMAN
Produced & directed by BILL KENWRIGHT
The following information was provided by Bill Kenwright Ltd. and is subject to change. Please confirm all details of interest to you directly with the venue. Box office numbers have been provided.
An English language reading of Dance Of The Vampires was held April 27th in New York for the show’s investors. A workshop production will be staged in mid-May for theater owners. The cast for the reading and workshop is as listed below:
Steve Barton - Count von Krolock (Phantom Of The Opera)
Sarah Uriarte Berry - Sarah (Les Miserables)
Max von Essen - Alfred (Jesus Christ Superstar)
William Youmans - Professor Abronsius (Titanic)
Tom Alan Robbins - Chagal (The Lion King)
Bertilla Baker - Rebecca (Titanic)
Kate Shindle - Magda (Caberet - she is also the former Miss America, 1998)
Jason Wooten - Herbert (Footloose, also Starmites 2001)
Ken Jennings - Koukol (Sweeney Todd)
Dance Of The Vampires -
Book by Jim Steinman, David Ives and John Caird as adapted from the German libretto of Michael Kunze.
Music and Lyrics by Jim Steinman
Directed by Jim Steinman & John Caird
Executive Producer is Andrew Braunsberg
Produced by Elizabeth Williams & Anita Waxman
Planned Broadway arrival is early 2002.
Opening Date and Theater To Be Announced.
Development of Batman - The Musical (Book by Ives, Music/Lyrics by Steinman) for Warner Brothers continues. The show may receive a reading later this summer.
Vampires Begin The Dance Toward Broadway
The reading for U.S. producers and investors of Dance Of The Vampires is planned for the last week of April in New York. John Caird will co-direct with Jim. David Ives (who wrote the book for the upcoming Warner Bros. Steinman/Ives musical - Batman) is now also involved in Dance Of The Vampires as the one of the projects librettists.
Thrilled with the final script (Ives) and score (Steinman) presented to them for Batman The Musical, Warner Bros. Has “green-lighted” the project for a late 2002 arrival in Gotham. Possible directors for the projects are being explored at this time.
A Hell Of A Cover
A Q Magazine special edition - The 100 Best Record Covers Of All Time features the cover art for Bat Out Of Hell. Art by Corben -Concept by Steinman. The write-up is featured on this web site at: 100 Best Covers
Forbidden Fires Burn In Boston
A new Steinman related project is now underway, with Jim's consent, called Forbidden Fire…The Musical Legacy of Jim Steinman. The project is the brainchild of Lisa "Lucky" DesPres, the talent coordinator and artistic director of one of the largest club venues in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Collaborating with Lisa are Angie Winterbottom and Emily DeGraff both longtime and profound Steinmaniacs. The show will be done revue style with Steinman songs serving as both the musical numbers and the emotional premise upon which each of the various scenes is written. Top caliber talent has already been recruited and Gary Cherone (formerly of Extreme / Van Halen and presently with Tribe of Judah) has been confirmed as one of the show's stars. Forbidden Fire plans a Fall 2002 opening in Boston with hopes of moving to New York shortly thereafter. A statement from Lisa follows:
"We're very fortunate to have a muse of such legendary standing as Mr. Steinman. It is our mission to reintroduce his music to the world in a way that allows the fundamental heroism to shine through. Though most (lay-persons) are familiar with a number his songs, they unfortunately don't make the connection. They don't know there is one man behind an epic body of work. We look forward to the resounding "WOW" when the general public realizes that the same man who brought them Paradise By The Dashboard Light, also brought them Total Eclipse and It's All Coming Back to Me Now. It's time
for Jim and his music to be appreciated autonomously. In the manner one recognizes a Mozart composition - or on a more contemporary level, those of Leiber and Stohler. Indeed, few contemporary composers have enjoyed such longevity. Let us celebrate the artist who "made" the music as we've celebrated the artists who have performed it."
Lisa "Lucky" DesPres
Producer Forbidden Fire
More Bat To Love
On January 30th Legacy, a division of Sony Music, released an "expanded" version of Bat Out Of Hell. This new edition features two additional tracks recorded live at Nassau Coliseum in Hempstead (Long Island), New York in 1978. New tracks include Steinman's adaptation of classical composer Maurice Ravel's "Bolero"( which was used to open the stage show for the original Bat Out Of Hell Tour) and a blistering 15 minute "in-concert" version of the album's title track. Read a well-written review of this release here.
I'm Obsessed With Obsession
MTV announced, as part of it's plan to develop 10 new original movies, "Wuthering Heights." The Emily Bronte classic about obsessive love takes a new spin in a contemporary adaptation based on a screenplay by Jim Steinman and Patricia Louisiana Knop. Jim will be executive producer and compose the original score for the movie. The writers, Max Enscoe and Annie deYoung, are currently working on two horror-thriller scripts (Day The World Ended & The Spider) for HBO and expect their first cinematic release to come in Fall of 2001 with "Wooly Boys." MTV generally spends in excess of 4 million dollars per movie and expects to complete production on "Wuthering Heights" in late 2001 or early 2002.
We'll Miss It, No Matter What
Whistle Down The Wind has closed in London after a successful 2 1/2 year run that spawned the immensely successful single, No Matter What. Collectors will be interested to know that Donny Osmond covers that song on his current release "This Is The Moment."
After a West End run of over two and a half years, the Andrew Lloyd Webber
and Jim Steinman musical, Whistle Down the Wind, will close at the Aldwych
theatre on Saturday Jan 6th 2001.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said, "I am sad to see "Whistle Down the Wind" go, though
a two and half year run is pretty good. Although with hindsight I feel I
might have been treading water, the show did contain 'No Matter What', my
biggest ever Number One hit in the UK, and many other songs of which I am
extremely proud. That is why I will return to it."
There is talk about the show possibly changing theaters - (the Aldwych is not
one of the many owned by ALW's RUG) - or taking it on tour. It's sad news
because the musical is really very beautiful, consistently placed in the Top
10 selling shows of the West End and recouped it's investment.
Let The Revels Begin - Vampires Dance On Broadway
Dance Of The Vampires is scheduled to arrive on Broadway in Fall 2001.
The show will feature book, music and lyrics by Steinman and he'll also be co-directing.
Holy Cow - It's Batman
Work on Batman - The Musical, (a Warners Brothers project), continues.
Steinman provides music and lyrics for a David Ives book. It will likely come to
Broadway in the 2001-2002 season.
Isn't It Romantic?
Frank Wildhorn is developing a new concept in musical theater. His project
is called The Romantics and on it he'll collaborate with a variety of
lyricists, including Jim Steinman, Don Black and Stephen Schwartz. Wildhorn
describes it as "a multi-layered project about ten couples." (Couples include
Adam & Eve, Bonnie & Clyde, and F.Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald). Wildhorn hopes
The Romantics will spawn two albums, a television special, material to use in
a concert setting and two complete musicals. Wildhorn's wife (Jekyll and Hyde
star) Linda Eder, is the female star of the show and will be featured in all
female lead parts. Steinman will provide lyrics for the Ladyhawke section of
the musical. Ladyhawke is the story of two lovers - cursed to walk through
life together, yet endlessly apart. Separated by an evil spell, they
alternate between animal (hawk or wolf) and human form - allowed to be
together, both as humans, during the brief moments when day turns to night
and night turns to day. A total eclipse helps bring an end to black magic
that plagues them.
Until The Very End, I'm There
RUG Denies Whistle Down The Wind Closing Rumors
Rumors have been circulating, (largely started by remarks made by Andrew
Lloyd Webber to Variety Magazine while doing press for his current musical,
The Beautiful Game) that Whistle Down The Wind may close in January 2001.
RUG denies this and is booking through Spring 2001. Whistle Down The Wind
continues to do well - 2 1/2 years since opening, it generally ranks in the
West End Top 10 and it's almost completely recouped all investment money.
The Aldwych Theater, where Whistle is housed, is not one of the many West
End theaters owned by RUG/ALW. My hope is that this philosophical and
poignant work will continue to be available to audiences for many years to
No Matter Where There's Darkness, I Bring My Song To You:
Michael Ball sings No Matter What on his upcoming release "Michael Ball - This
Time...It's Personal." The CD is scheduled for released on October 23rd with
a video release scheduled to follow.
Forever's Gonna Start Tonight
Pia Douwes, Uwe Kroeger, Viktor Gernot and Marika Lichter teamed to perform
four concerts in Vienna last September. The show, called "In Love Again...With
Musicals," featured a Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger duet on Totale Finsternis
(Total Eclipse Of the Heart) from Tanz der Vampire. A live recording release
is planned and this number is slated for inclusion. A release date has not
yet been announced.
Did You Get To Try Anything New?
In addition to the above, Jim continues to work on a variety of exciting
projects. Although it's premature to discuss these "back burner" projects
with certainty, they include developing new talent for the Ravenous Records
label, developing a screenplay for TV, plus work on an assortment of
No Way Jose!
Jim Steinman is not involved with Meat Loaf's latest recording endeavor, Fun
Restless Records / DAS Label Press Release
23 YEARS AND 37 MILLION RECORDS LATER …
"BAT OUT OF HELL" GOES COUNTRY
Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell" was released in 1977 and has sold over 37 million copies since. A new spin on the extraordinarily successful rock-opera classic will feature various country artists covering the tunes on "Bat Out Of Nashville." More
On July 26th VH1 plans to air "Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back," a new original movie that tells Meat Loaf's version of his dramatic rise to fame in the 1970s, his subsequent fall as a result of personal and professional problems, and his return to fame after recording the sequel to Bat Out Of Hell in 1993 with Jim Steinman. W. Earl Brown ("There's Something About Mary") stars as Meat Loaf, Dedee Pfeiffer ("For Your Love") as Lesley Aday and Zachary Throne ("Frank Leaves for the Orient") as the Meat's legendary inventor, Jim Steinman. The film is directed by Jim McBride ("Great Balls of Fire," "The Big Easy").
Steinman and most others portrayed in the film, aside from Meat Loaf, were not consulted on the script with regard to accuracy or content.
Stuttgart's Tanz der Vampire stars Kevin Tarte and Barbara Köhler's performance of "Totale Finsternis" on the German TV station ZDF-Sendung on the program "Straße der Lieder" has been rescheduled. They are now tentatively scheduled to appear April 22nd.
The Stuttgart cast of Tanz der Vampire are also scheduled to appear on "Kinderquatsch mit Michael" on April 1st but that date is also subject to change.
Jim's record label, Ravenous, is now associated with the Columbia Records family of music. A variety of projects are being planned.
"Dance Of The Vampires" (Stuttgart, Germany version) opens March 31, 2000 with previews beginning mid/late March. Returning visitors to the show will be pleased to find an extended and re-written Draussen Ist Freiheit/dance sequence. Visit Stella on-line for booking and ticket information.
"Dance Of The Vampires" (United States version) is working toward a Fall 2001 Broadway arrival. Contrary to a report appearing in a New York paper's gossip column, Roman Polanski will not be directing the U.S. production.
Jim continues to prepare "Batman : The Musical" for Warner Bros. with book by David Ives, music and lyrics by Steinman.
Filming is set to begin on VH1's Meat Loaf bio-pic "To Hell And Back." Although an actor has been cast and a role scripted for Steinman, Jim was not involved in script development nor will he assist with production.