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 Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 12:31 GMT
Crawford's vampire show bites the dust
Michael Crawford
Michael Crawford is internationally famed for his work
Michael Crawford's latest theatrical venture in New York is closing less than seven weeks after opening.

Dance of the Vampires, which cost $12m (7.5m) to stage, will close on 25 January after just 56 regular performances.

Several harsh reviews from the critics are thought to have contributed to the production's failure to draw in audiences.

Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman
Phantom duo: Crawford and Sarah Brightman
The musical was the vehicle for the 59-year-old British actor's return to Broadway after his career-making turn as the title character in "The Phantom of the Opera."

But the musical, based on Roman Polanski's 1967 movie spoof The Fearless Vampire Killers, was panned by many critics.

The New York Times said it was like "a bunch of drunk high school kids trying to replicate Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video and The Daily News dismissed it as "vulgar" and "mindless".

Ticket sales were disappointing from the start, with the show reportedly only filling 60% of the seats at the Minskoff Theatre.

To spur sales a television advertising campaign was launched in January, at a reported cost of $300,000, but it failed to spark a significant increase in interest.

La Boheme

The musical has also suffered from opening at the same time as Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme, with both premiering on the same weekend.

Reviews of La Boheme have been enthusiastic, with the same New York Times critic who dismissed Dance of the Vampires, calling this version of Puccini's opera "both the coolest and the warmest show in town". "

Crawford, who is also known in the UK for the 1970s series Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, is best known for his role as the phantom, which has taken in more than 2.15bn at the box office.

The internationally-famed star won a Tony award in 1988 for playing the role, the highest honour for given by Broadway.

See also:

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