Thursday, May 3, 2012

Give us our Tanssi back!

It's becoming a personal tradition for me to do something musical on May Day. Last year, I went to ÅST to see Les Mis. This year, it was time for a musical themed May Day concert at Seinäjoen kaupunginteatteri.
The music was played by a combination of two bands, Seinäjoki City Orchestra and Kauhava Big Band, conducted by Timo Ristilä. The singers were all former Vampyyrien tanssi cast members: Jouko Enkelnotko, Jyri Lahtinen, Leena Rousti, Ville Salonen, Sami Vartianen and Anne Vihelä.

Seeing every singer and even the conductor worked at Tanssi, and with the concert being staged at the theatre that used to do the show... It wasn't unrealistic to look forward a small nod or two in the vampire fandom's general direction.
But boy, I had no idea how amazing an experience the concert would actually be!

 Sami Vartiainen and Jyri Lahtinen in a happy May Day mood.

Indeed, everyone had figured the concert would have a couple of treats for vampire fans - t-shirts with the musical's logo and teeth a bit sharper than usual were once more spotted among the crowd at Seinäjoen kaupunginteatteri's foyer.  Some former members of the Tanssi ensemble were present, even.

However, the first act of the concert went by - in retrospect! - quite calmly. We clapped, we screamed, but we hadn't yet a reason to go absolutely insane. Even though they played Tanz der Vampire's Overture and joked a bit with vampire teeth at one point, the music selection was well suited for regular audience members too. They played tunes from West Side Story, A Little Night Music, Chess and more. Everyone sung well, Sami Vartiainen's dancing was impressive during the Singing in the Rain number, the band sounded grand.
So far, so good.

And then we heard Count von Krolock's voice from the speakers, announcing that after intermission we'd be returning to Transylvania...

Jouko Enkelnotko as Herbert von Krolock, once more.

Return we did. The first half of the second act was pure, unadulterated fanservice for the members of the Tanssi fandom present.
Want to hear Jyri Lahtinen sing Krolock's part in Kun kaikki pimenee/Totale Finsternis once more? You got it! How about Kun rakastut/Wenn Liebe in Dir ist - but with Alfred's and Herbert's parts reversed? Why not! Or... ever wanted to see a drunk Count von Krolock? Here you go!
We saw stuff happening onstage that is usually only joked in fangirls and boys' conversations. I didn't imagine laughing this much at any concert!

I've no idea if there were people in the audience who hadn't seen Vampyyrien tanssi or saw it but didn't like it. A couple of senior citizens seated in the front row seemed a bit annoyed at the audience around them, but frankly, I don't care too much if they disapproved of my screaming. For the fans present, the concert was a fantastic - though brief - return to the musical we loved so much. The vampire-based numbers, as well as the rest of the second act with Sweet Transvestite from The Rocky Horror Show and more, were done perfectly tongue-in-cheek.

We rewarded the hilarity with standing ovations at the middle of the show, with screams and applause. I don't think my palms have ever hurt quite as much after leaving a theatre.

Among others, some sweet transvestites...

When the show had ended and I was approaching the front door with my friends, a lady who we had never seen before shouted at us - maybe she spotted my Dance of the Vampires logo t-shirt or something:
"Hey girls! You should start a petition to get Tanssi back!"
I'm sure it'd be useless, but I still kind of feel like doing that - just out of protest. It's been over a month since the last performance, but I'm not yet done with my annoyance over the show's closing. I'm not sad. I'm plain annoyed.

There are people who would've wanted to go but couldn't get tickets. The people who did... It seems almost everyone saw the show at least twice, and I haven't heard of anyone who would've seen it without liking it. The fans certainly still miss the show. The ensemble members I met yesterday told me the cast misses it, too. It was also clear the actors had a good time doing the show, and that made watching it hugely enjoyable.
In short, I've never felt such a strong connection in between members of the audience, in between the cast and the fans, at any show I've ever seen.

I can't but wonder what is wrong with the people who make decisions at Seinäjoen kaupunginteatteri.
How could they let Tanssi die?

Photos by Miss V. - and, for once, taken inside a theatre auditorium with permission!


  1. True that! Every musical fandom would deserve a concert like this after their favourite show has closed, good first aid to the post-show depression... :P

  2. I think you should know. This has put to the Facebook page of the produciton of Tanssi with this ""We rewarded the hilarity with standing ovations at the middle of the show, with screams and applause", kirjoittaa Vappukonsertin kuulija ja esittää samalla vetoomuksen."

    1. Ah! I was so confused when I opened Blogger - ten times more daily hits than yesterday... Thanks for letting me know what's going on! :D

  3. I want my Tanssi back, I need it back. I'm not sad that it ended, I'm not even angry. I'm just... numb. It was like a drug to me, I needed to saw it over and over. But now... there's nothing. I can't understand why they forced it to end. Everyone is missing Tanssi, actors, dancers, audience, every single one.

    (But maybe the count is too embarrassed to come back in Seinäjoki after what happened in May Day concert. :D)

    1. I feel you...

      (That's a good theory though... :'D)

  4. A drunk Count? It sounds a total lack of respect for the musical!not to mention that Herbert..the Berlin one looks like Prince Charming,like he´s supposed to

    1. Huh..? I don't see it disrespectful at all. It didn't happen during a performance of the musical but in a concert, as a comedy number, so why not. The audience loved it!
      Also, as far as I'm concerned, that Herbert there is fabulous. :)

    2. To the Anon: What you are missing here is that it was a May Day concert. May Day in Finlad is something you could even describe carnevalistic and a celebration of protest. Also, the concert was supposed to be a revue. And revues are supposed to have sketches and comedy. As an out of context scene in a revue on a carnevalistic holiday that is supposed to be fun and set in the cultural context of Finland, it makes perfect sense.

      Furthermore, there's nothing disrespectful about making fun of things. Actually, there's nothing better about loving things than being able to make jokes about it. Considering Tanz der Vampire is a *parody* of vampire genre, it would be terribly odd if we weren't allowed to laugh at it and make fun of it. And I feel that the actors who were actually doing this musical have a lot more respect for their work than any of us could possibly have.

      As for Herbert, your comment is completely subjective. Herbert is a fictional character - he's *not* supposed to be anything specific. Judging him only by his looks is, in my honest opinion, quite superficial, and comparing a very different non-replica production's character to Berlin production doesn't even seem very relevant to me.

    3. I completely second Anonymous #2. Even the musical itself doesn't take itself very seriously, and it laughs at the whole musical genre, vampires, grusicals, gothic stories etc., so it would feel silly to treat the musical as if it were holy and laughing at/with it would be wrong. Besides, laugh isn't always disrespectful.