One of the criticisms commonly leveled at Rice is that she employs metaphysical chest-beating at the expense of storytelling. In many ways, Lestat suffers from a similar affliction. The mangled plotting, clunky dialogue, and overemotional lyrics do not aid these bland, guy-next-door vampires with their tortured consciences and haute couture. Rather than feeling transformed by the power of the story and the music, I found myself imposing a moral reading on the proceedings -- one that probably wasn't even there. "Lestat could be a metaphor for anyone who lives outside the status quo. Perhaps the musical is Elton John's plea as a gay man for common compassion and understanding," I babbled pretentiously as we headed out of the theater on opening night. My friend Diane looked appalled. "I dunno about that," she said, eventually. "But the costumes were pretty."