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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Critics lay into Elton's musical
Sir Elton John and Anne Rice
Sir Elton is a "huge fan" of Anne Rice's Vampire novels

Sir Elton John's vampire musical Lestat has had its Broadway premiere - but has been savaged by critics.

Industry newspaper Variety said the show was "beyond rescue", while the New York Times' influential Ben Brantley called it "a musical sleeping pill".

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, said it was "laughable" and "deadly dull".

Using the novels of Anne Rice, the musical is based on the bloodsucking character played by Tom Cruise in the 1994 film Interview with the Vampire.

Co-written by Sir Elton's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, it opened at New York's Palace Theatre on Tuesday following a short run in San Francisco in January.

I'd be an absolute liar if I said I'm not nervous about it being a flop
Sir Elton John
That version also received stinging reviews, although Sir Elton told reporters "80%" of the show had since been changed.

"I'd be an absolute liar if I said I'm not nervous about it being a flop," he said.

"All I know is that we've done the best we can."

Lestat's critics have compared it to two previous vampire musicals that did not survive for long on Broadway.

'Flat' show

Dance of the Vampires lasted just a month in 2003, while Dracula the Musical was staged for five months in 2004.

"It might be time to nail the coffin lid shut on all belting bloodsuckers," said Variety's David Rooney, who called Sir Elton's show "flat and underpopulated".

Mr Brantley said the show - which stars Hugh Panaro as Lestat de Lioncourt, an 18th Century French nobleman who becomes a vampire - was "unlikely to break the solemn curse that has plagued the genre".

David Furnish and Sir Elton John
David Furnish accompanied Sir Elton to the Broadway premiere
The show has received some faint praise, however, with USA Today saying it "isn't nearly as bad as you may have expected".

The Financial Times, meanwhile, said Sir Elton and Mr Taupin had "contributed honourably".

Speaking in 2003, Sir Elton said he and his songwriting partner were "huge fans" of Anne Rice's Vampire books, which have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

Lestat marks the first time Sir Elton - whose stage credits include Billy Elliot and The Lion King - has written a musical with his long-time collaborator.

The show faces competition at the box office from Tarzan, the Phil Collins musical of the 1999 Disney cartoon film, which opens on 10 May.

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