Based on an impressive German musical with a marvelous score by Jim Steinman, this Broadway incarnation has long been derided as a humiliating desecration of its source material. There’s reason for this judgment: the book features an enormous number of laughably stupid lines, and Michael Crawford’s performance in the lead role, complete with a blonde mullet and a stereotyped fake Italian accent, has gone down in history as one of Broadway’s most embarrassing star turns. In addition, there was the song “Garlic”, which was already the show’s weakest song in the German version and became a floppo number for the ages in its Broadway staging. But speaking as someone who saw the production, the actual result on stage was, for all its myriad faults, oddly arresting. Some of the songs (particularly “Death Is Such an Odd Thing” and “When Love Is Inside You”) suffered from being turned into comedy numbers, but a number of things in the score, particularly “Braver Than We Are”, “For Sarah”, and “Confessions Of a Vampire”, transferred beautifully to the Broadway version, giving this production the Carrie-like phenomenon of having several ravishing songs in the midst of an otherwise terrible show. The book did feature a fair number of unintentional laughs at the sheer stupidity of it all, and for all its faults, the show was surprisingly easy to sit through. As poor as Crawford’s performance was, he still displayed his trademark personal magnetism and did a surprisingly good job with several of his songs. And in the supporting leads, Mandy Gonzalez and Max von Essen were phenomenal, singing gloriously and making their characters’ romance far more touching and convincing than it had been in the German version. The result was a show that swung unpredictably between the embarrassing and the glorious, and really does provide a certain parallel with Carrie in being both a legendary catastrophe and a vintage Heartbreaker Flop in one. Certainly, whatever its failings, the show had far more going for it than the two other vampire-related catastrophes that would come along in the next few years, Dracula and Lestat.