Vampire musicals are not unknown. In fact, seems fairly easy to think of an actual fistful of titles, from I Kissed a Vampire to Tanz der Vampires or the famous musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Musical versions of Dracula as well as Carmilla have either been staged or are on their way. Ditto (in theory) Twilight!
Now Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood presents The Red Moon. In that theatre sounds a tad familiar, you are likely a very loyal reader of this website! Previous productions covered from this company include a work about The Blood Countess (Elizabeth Bathory herself) and even a previous musical with echoes of a horror movie mashup Not With Monsters.
The Red Moon thankfully tells a genuinely original tale, with in fact a twist on the human/vampire love story that frankly I’ve never quite seen before. Roxanna (Lara Lihiya) and Anthony (Jason Britt) are the undead/human couple involved.
SPOILERS DO FOLLOW! You have been warned!
Roxanna suddenly re-appears in her sister Lauri’s (Nicole A. Craig) life after two years, insisting on meeting at what–to the straightlaced Lauri–seems a heavy metal hell hole of a club. But her sister, gothically-clad and now fierce of eye, makes her an offer. Live forever. Have fun forever! Lauri runs before her jugular ends up punctured, as it turns out her long-lost sibling has become undead. When Lauri later meets her friend Anthony for coffee, Roxanna shows up and sets her eyes on him. Before long, he has not only been bitten but tasted her blood and joined the ranks of the nosferatu.
Now, what might you expect to happen next? Lauri to move heaven and earth to try and redeem Anthony? Nope! Instead she focuses (rather more logically) on her sister, managing to trap her and gets a Preacher (Paul Carpenter) to perform an exorcism. It works! Roxanna “comes to” and eventually feels overwhelming guilt–not least for her latest victim, Anthony. The story then becomes a kind of duelling temptations. He longs to get her to return with him into the shadows (finding doing this against her will impossible). She in turn has become the point around which he orbits. If she is to be human, he feels the tug to join her.
Ramon Sanchez has created an interesting tale, one worthy of more productions. Honestly, I think the script (and some the lyrics) need work, but the essence of what he has certainly intrigued me. Like Faust, here is a story focussed on the damnation or redemption of the individual human soul–but without a particularly clear-cut ending. That last is intended as a compliment. Indeed, it caps the whole show with a disturbing frisson of real power.
It plays for three more weeks as of this writing.
All Photo Credit: Zombie Joe’s Underground