Our government has invaded and destroyed Iraq, and is now casting its hawkish eye on Iran. Before we nuke Tehran, I’d like to propose an alternative target: I think our armies should invade and destroy Lestat, the new musical based on Anne Rice’s vampire novels. Saddam Hussein was unquestionably an oppressor, but he can’t have been as oppressive as two and a half hours of Lestat. The Palace Theatre, with its long history of glamorous, crowd-pleasing entertainments, is the wrong venue—this show should play Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo. The first act alone would induce the most hardened terrorist to confess.
Even granting the appeal (lost on me) of Rice’s wheezily verbose novels, squeezing all their complications into one draggy evening of subliterate pop-rock oatmeal is a notion only an entertainment conglomerate could love. The concept of vampires as mother-fixated homophile men with philosophic pretensions, which the show toys with in a thoroughly confusing peekaboo manner, doesn’t help either. If Sir Elton and his team had really wanted to write a musical about the walking dead, they should have made them all upper-echelon Warner executives. For performers like Hugh Panaro, Carolee Carmello, Jim Stanek, and Roderick Hill, who sing their devoted lungs out trying to make this garishly inert sucker fly, I have only sympathy. Why the excruciatingly inept actor who plays Armand has been told to use a Jose Jimenez accent is beyond my comprehension. Hello, Defense Department? Get me Secretary Rumsfeld, please. And start sharpening our stakes.