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Fan Stories - 4
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The Phantom's Dance - - 27.04.2002

When we heard about
IJB's casting as alternate 'Graf von Krolock', the leading part of 
'Tanz der Vampire' in Stuttgart, we went for tickets as soon as possible. We had loved his 'Phantom', we were curious about his 'Krolock' - two parts seeming similar, but different in many ways.

We went for the show at Saturday afternoon and our first look at the cast screen told us 
that it was true: IJB would sing as 'Krolock'.

We knew the show, but have heard Kevin Tarte then - another really great singer.
IJB did the show since a very few weeks, we would be able to enjoy the beginnings of his vampire career - a fine thing to do, we thought, and it was, indeed.

We asked ourselves: Would he be able to forget about Erik, the mysterious, dark killer in self-defense, angel of music and night, when turning into the dark demon of night, killer in self-preservation Graf von Krolock?

Well...There are songs in the musical 'Tanz der Vampire' which remind 'Phantom Of The Opera'. There are likely lyrics - about the creature of darkness, the sadness of being an outcaste and so on.

And indeed, when he entered the stage the first time, it seemed a little bit like Erik, the 
phantom, having dressed like a vampire (who also wears a wonderful, swinging cape...)...The first talking to Sarah, a very cheerful Jewish daughter, seemed a little bit likely to Erik's yearning for Christine.

The whole Part One, whenever we saw
IJB, he reminded us of 'POTO'. But then, just the 
last song of Part One, he somehow changed. His character became more sarcastic, demonic and vampire-like, and when we came back for Part Two, he had changed completely. Nothing about Erik now - just one song a little bit phantom-like: 'Unstillbare Gier', a song likely to 'Music Of The Night'.
But this voice! Oh what a voice!
We had heard him the last time nine months before, and we knew we loved his 'Phantom' because of his great acting and his beautiful voice. But now we could hear him once again, and we found our memories to be true: IJB just has a strong, wonderful and unique voice - we love to hear him...

We asked for autograph cards in the foyer, and they told us they had none, we ought to ask 
IJB himself.

Well, okay, why not.
We went for the backstage door, asked, if he was still inside, and waited for IJB to come. Ten minutes, half an hour, an hour...no IJB.

We asked again. They told us he was still inside, so I asked them to tell him someone was waiting (it was very, very cold, and we felt like frozen to death...). They did, and he told them he would need ten more minutes to come.

Well, it lasted nearly half another hour, but it didn't matter - then he came, I asked for my autograph and failed to tell him more about me - the only time he saw me before I had a half-mask on. So it just was impossible for him to recognize me...Sometimes I'm very shy. Too shy...

He signed our program and then went for an interview with another fan we met at the stage door.

And we went home, happy and hungry, for a very late dinner....

'Tanz der Vampire' and a bottle of beer, 06.07.2002

Before we drove to Stuttgart, I went for a bottle of finest beer. A very little brewery in Celle, that's near our little village, had some extraordinary beer for me. I knew
IJB likes beer very much...

I don't like throwing flowers on stages - just remember my little disaster when I tried to 
threw a rose for Michael Nicholson (fan stories, 'POTO matinee June 30th'), so I thought it would be better to hand something over to IJB I hoped he liked more.

It had been very difficult to get tickets for a show he surely would sing his 'Krolock', but 
we've been successful, so we now happy anticipated our second show with IJB as leading vampire.

We tried to deliver our beer before the show started, but one and a half hour before the show they told us he had already the make-up on and would not come down now.
Well, okay, we had to wait. Doesn't matter...

The show was great.
No Erik anymore, only the aristocratic creature of the night, the big vampire boss: Graf von Krolock at his best.
Yes, okay, we've missed IJB's Erik, and 'Tanz der Vampire' is a good musical, but just 
not the same as 'POTO' we loved more - but I agree: The name is 'Tanz der Vampire', not 'Tanz der Phantome'.
And IJB did a great, demonic, but romantic, sarcastic, flattering (when with Sarah), scornful and really biting vampire that day.

It also was a tenderly loving character, roaring with rage and fighting his dark fate of condemnation - yes, you can say, there was nothing he forgot to show about the sparkling mind of Graf von Krolock.

As I said before:
IJB just is a very good actor and a really great singer.
We enjoyed a wonderful show that day.

We had seats in the first row - we love to sit in the first row. It's almost easier to join the 
story when there is nothing between you and the stage than the orchestra. Well, okay, we sat very, very near the drums...next time, we'll choose the other side. Harps are harmless...When you've got first-row-seats and you like the show: Never forget to show it. Just wear a smile on your face when you enjoy the show. We've been told by another, really great and fantastic singer, Ethan Freeman, who did Leopold Mozart in 'Mozart!', Hamburg, that sometimes the actors are able to see the audience in the first rows.
And it's true, we tried it again here and now in that show. We call it 'interactive theatre'. We changed smiles with half the cast...

But then it was over, and we started the next try to deliver our beer. A little walk to our 
car to fetch the beer, a little walk back to the stage door, then the question, if IJB was still there (he was), and if they could tell him about us waiting there with a nice, little beer.
They did, and he told them he would come soon.
Gerhard, my husband and also IJB-fan, hates to wait at stage-doors, so he waited outside. Just a moment before he came down for me, another fan which till then had waited outside rushed in and, now he had arrived, seized IJB completely.
Okay, okay. If she likes to do so...
She came to an end, and I was able to catch him the moment he started to leave. I told him about the beer, handed it over, and asked for an autograph. I also wished to tell him about me having written the fan-stories and just talk a little bit, but was interrupted by that other fan who remembered that she also had had the wish for an autograph...

Well, okay. Being polite at stage doors seems to be very old-fashioned. I got my autograph (still no own autograph cards for
IJB, as it seems) and a very nice smile, then he wrote the 
other autograph for that obstinate other fan, thanked for the beer and went off.

So now he may know it was me - no really need to tell him when he can read it here...

What do we think now we've seen IJB twice as 'Krolock'?

We think, there is no need for him to do that phantom part again. He was wonderful, great,
a heartbreaking romantically suffering phantom, but he is also a fantastic vampire chief. There's always the need of progress, and we think, he did it best, that progress to other characters. Yes, we also would love to see him once again as 'Phantom', but we'll also love to see him in any other part he would like to do.

He is a very good actor and a great singer. We think, whatever he will do next, he'll do it best.

It's over now, the music of the night - but, as we've seen now when he did the 'Krolock', there are always new things to come...


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