a world premiere
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Scott Miller
May 5-20, 1995
St. Marcus Theatre, St. Louis
Purchase the 1995 original cast recording here.
Purchase the script here.
Purchase the vocal selections here.
Purchase the sheet music for "The Tale of Zachary Church" here.
Part romance, part Gothic horror, part comedy, In the Blood explores the unlikely romance between the vampire Zachary Church and Adam Graham, a hematologist with HIV, in the early years of the AIDS pandemic. If vampires are the only ones who can't be affected by the AIDS virus, do they have some responsibility to pass on their immunity? And for someone with AIDS, what price is too high for acquiring that immunity? When Adam asks Zach to turn him to vampirism so he won't die, Zach is torn. He has vowed never to make another vampire, never to subject anyone else to the horrific loneliness he has known for so long. Ultimately, Zach has to choose between condemning Adam to the tormented life of a vampire or watching him die, knowing he could've saved him.
Zachary Church – Jim Freund
Adam Graham – Leo Schloss
Rebecca Young – Laura Beard Aeling
Chaz Williams – Andrew Nowak
Danny Hooper – Keith Price
Ruby – Lisa Garcia Fensterman
Jeannie – Johanna Schloss
J.D. – Scott A. Tripp
Ricki – Victoria Edrington
THE ARTISTIC STAFF
Director – Scott Miller
Lighting Designer – Steven P. Dohrmann
Set Coordinator – Greg Hunsaker
Graphic Designer – Tracy Collins
Piano – Debbie Bernardoni
Percussion – Adam Kopff
“Ideas loom large in this work. The central one is ingenious. . . Two things do work for me in In the Blood. One – and it surprised me – was the vampire business. . . The other thing is the love story between the vampire and the hematologist. . . Much of that emotional conviction grows from Miller’s music, which is, I think, the best score he’s done for a show.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times
“Conflicts lead to high-voltage confrontations.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
I've come a long way since the first musical I wrote back in 1981. Since then, I've written traditional book musicals (shows with a linear plot line), concept musicals, an absurdist musical comedy, a political musical, even an educational musical about the history of astronomy (no kidding).
This was the first time I've ever had a public reading and discussion of one of my shows, and it was a wonderful experience for me, for the actors, and for the audience. A big crowd showed up at our reading in February – a lot more than we expected – and their comments during the discussion afterward were for the most part intelligent and very useful. Since the reading, I've done a lot of rewriting, cutting, adding, and rearranging to strengthen the show. It's been through four versions so far, the latest of which is still being revised as I write this.
For the first time, I've constructed a score in which musical themes are used to connect characters and dramatic events. For instance, the melody to the chorus of Adam's song “The River of Life” is also the melody to the bridge in Zach's “Hell,” in order to connect these two characters emotionally; and it shows up again in their Act II duet, “Alone.” A number of other musical themes are sprinkled throughout the evening to link dramatic events and reinforce important concepts (death, loneliness, etc). Most of Stephen Sondheim's scores, Andrew Lloyd Webber's earlier works, shows like Les Misérables, and a lot of operas use musical themes in this way, and it's been fascinating playing with these musical puzzle pieces to help tell this story, even if it's only on a subliminal level.
I read a great quote recently, that premises belong on stage, and conclusions belong in the house. In other words, a playwright shouldn't tell his audience what to think; he should present interesting issues and ideas and let them form their own opinions. Of course, this is easier said than done, and it is asking more of an audience than the average musical theatre audience expects. But I have found that New Line's audiences enjoy a challenging theatre piece. As with most of our shows, In the Blood addresses a variety of issues. I hope you find it interesting and thought-provoking, as well as a lot of fun.