Saturday, May 18, 2024

Worse Than “Spider Man”: Elton John’s 2006 Broadway “Lestat”

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Elton John has been getting might testy lately. First he went after Billy Joel for his drinking. Then on Saturday Night Live he took a poke at his “Lion King” collaborator Julie Taymor and her “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark.”  He sang a funny parody with the line “Can you smell a bomb tonight?” to the famous “Lion King” song he wrote. 

But Elton has a short memory. Far worse and a bigger bomb than “Spider Man” was his 2006 musical, “Lestat.” Based on “Interview with the Vampire,” this staggeringly awful stinker played 33 previews and 6 actual performances before being shut down–its coffin nailed down tightly. To this day I cannot think of a show this bad. It was beyond. During the intermission of the previews performance I saw, literally everyone left. I had to buy a friend a drink to make him stay with me so I could review the show.

While “Spider Man” is at least filling seats and taking in around $1.3 mil a week–sometimes more–“Lestat” lost its total investment and was put away, never to be heard from again. The show may have flushed as much as $12 million down the drain. And like “Spider Man” there were last minute changes, and lots of nasty gossip. Unlike “Spider Man,” it did not have an overriding vision or framework that could sustain changes.

To wit: “I guess that’s why they called it a flop.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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