Elton John's 'Lestat' musical panned by critics

'Bloody awful,' 'kiss of death' and 'deadly' were some of the scathing pronouncements about Tuesday's Broadway debut of the musical Lestat.

"Bloody awful," "kiss of death" and "deadly" were some of the scathing pronouncements about Tuesday's Broadway debut of the musical Lestat.

Based on Anne Rice's vampire novels, the savagely criticized musical features songs by Elton John and his writing partner Bernie Taupin.

After the failure of two other vampire musicals in the past few years (2002's Dance of the Vampires and 2004's Dracula, the Musical), there had been low expectations for Lestat, which was also highly criticized during its pre-Broadway run in San Francisco last December.

Despite an attempt by the producers to rework the production, Lestat was largely panned across the board.

Influential New York Times critic Ben Brantley described the production as a "musical sleeping pill" and said it "vacillates feebly between low tragedy and lower camp," while Variety called the show "beyond rescue."

The New York Post titled its review "Bloody Awful" while Washington Post critic Peter Marks wrote that "Lestat's contribution to art and equality is demonstrating that a gay vampire with a two-octave range can be just as dull as a straight one."

The production condenses the storyline from several of Rice's Vampire Chronicles books, which follow an 18th century Frenchman named Lestat who becomes a vampire.

The character was also portrayed by Tom Cruise in the 1994 film Interview with a Vampire, which also starred Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst.

Such powerfully bad reviews do not bode well for the production, as similar reaction has sometimes forced early closures.

Most recently the high-profile musical Ring of Fire, inspired by and featuring the music of Johnny Cash, was poorly reviewed when it opened in March. The production is set to close April 30.