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The Mystery of the West End Cast Recording of Dracula the Musical

What happened, and why does it no longer seem to exist?

By Ash TaylorPublished 12 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - June 2023
Concept Album Cover

I don’t remember how I stumbled onto the cast recording of Sang de Vie Productions’ Dracula concept album. I can’t even remember how many years ago it was now – at least two, possibly more. But with it’s striking red album cover featuring a silhouette of Dracula, it’s hard to miss.

Michael McCarthy – best known for his role as Javert in the West End production of Les Mis – breathes life into the haunting role of Dracula with his rich and powerful voice. The songs are compelling and tragic, and the concept album very much treated the story as a tragedy.

It’s fantastic.

Which is why I was absolutely gobsmacked when I realised the existence of this album had all but been scrubbed from the internet. Spotify? Gone. CD Bay website? Gone. Apple music? Gone. One CD was for sale on Amazon – for $111. The amazon music album attached to the CD was for a 1996 album called Dracula, in a language I don’t speak.

The CD had once been available to purchase on the website CD Bay. The listing no longer exists, and the link returns a 404 error, but internet savvy people know nothing truly ever leaves the internet. The WayBack Machine, which archives internet pages, gave me more information. FINALLY, I had evidence that this CD existed.

Even Michael McCarthy’s website has no mention of the album in which he starred – unless you found the archive and scrolled down. The attached Youtube video was made private, and the link to it on his Wikipedia page is broken. Someone went to great lengths to make us forget this album ever existed.

I was able to find exactly one song (coincidentally my favourite) – I am Condemned – uploaded to Youtube.

Its comments are filled with confused people, wondering where the album had gone, why it had disappeared, and why they were unable to find any mention of its existence. Many begged for anyone with the CD to please contact them so they could save a copy of the songs.

Let me tell you – my Gothic loving heart nearly broke. So I went digging.

At first I couldn’t even find the album cover. A search for “Dracula musical” brought up a number of potentials (turns out, a few exist) but none of them were MY musical, the one I had fallen in love with. Eventually, I found the image on a sketchy karaoke site (presumably from the Czech Republic, given that it’s domain ended in .cz) and that gave me names. Names of the writers, the musicians, and most importantly, the producers.

I had a starting point.

Before this, I didn’t know the name of the producers. I knew the cast involve were West End musical theatre performers, and I knew it was Dracula. I knew the names of some of the songs, and I knew what the album cover looked like.

The company – Sang de Vie Productions Ltd – got me information. These days it appears to primarily produce self-published Gothic novels written by the same author who penned the lyrics for the album – William Gareth Evans. Mr Evans has a LinkedIn page, where he lists his experience as Director of Sang de Vie Productions and notes he was the producer of the musical, Dracula. Sang de Vie Productions, while without a website, does have a Facebook page.

Sang de Vie Productions logo

There’s not much on the Facebook page, but there was enough for me to learn that as of 2022, the company was selling all remaining copies of the Dracula CDs through PayPal, ostensibly to raise money for a stage production. But the CD had been on sale since 2006, and tracks were available to purchase digitally through other means. So why is it only now that the producers are trying to gather funds for a stage production?

Surely, given the talent involved in the creation of this album, there would be enough sway for a proper West End production? And why remove any and all mention of the album from the internet?

I don’t have the answers, and I don’t think I’ll find them. Sang de Vie Productions hasn’t updated their Facebook since the 1st of January this year, and Mr Evans’ LinkedIn has no activity. Michael McCarthy’s website has nothing newer than 2019. Christopher J Orton, who is credited with the music, appears to have moved onto other things, with a world premiere for his musical Then, Now & Next (although Dracula is listed amongst his writing credits). His twitter is notably empty. Ian Lynn, credited with orchestration and studio production, doesn’t have any mention of the CD on his website.

I don’t know the names of the performers for the other roles.

I don’t know if we’ll ever see the concept album become a fully-fledged production, or if it’s dead in the water. I don’t even know if I’ll ever listen to my favourite songs from it again.

What I do know, is that much like the enigmatic and eponymous Count Dracula, an air of mystery surrounds this concept album. And I am desperate to sink my teeth into it.

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About the Creator

Ash Taylor

Lover of fantasy and all things whimsical. Currently studying Writing and Publishing at UNE in Armidale, Australia. Living on Anaiwan land.


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Comments (6)

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  • Jacob W.9 months ago

    If I may, there is a website (I’ve used it for years and it’s safe, it just takes some understanding how to download) that has this. I will add the link. I hope this helps everyone. It’s free (unless you pay for the high speed and unlimited downloads - otherwise it’s a slow download and only one download per day). Worth it for finding lots of out of print and rare soundtracks.

  • I've been listening to this soundtrack since the early 2000s. I cannot express how happy I was to see someone else also finding an interest in this soundtrack, especially the mystery around it. If you ever need a full track list (along with who is singing what), lemme know! Good luck in your search! :)

  • Atlas10 months ago

    Good afternoon! I discovered this album when I was 14, and randomly remembered it earlier this year, but could only find what you were able to. After reading this, I found the CD on Amazon and purchased it. $121 (after tax & shipping) was a steep price but worth it in the long run. Hopefully it will be the right version and in English, as you pointed out the Amazon music album was different. When it arrives I will update you on my findings

  • Ifeoluwa Ajayi12 months ago The future of technologies and electronic Click the link for the fascinating evolution of technologies and electronic

  • Sunday Michael12 months ago

    This is amazing😍

  • R. J. Rani12 months ago

    This is such a cool piece, Ash! I felt as though I were watching a documentary. You captured the mystery beautiful and by the end, though this was my first time hearing about this album, I was curious too. Thank you for writing this piece! 👏👏👏

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