Phantom Lip-Synching?

Citygirl.grace
Stand-by
joined:8/9/10
Phantom Lip-Syncing??
Posted: 7/21/12 at 07:46pm
I had a friend tell me that he saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway (years and years ago...) and he said that the cast was lip syncing the whole time. I've never heard of this on Broadway. haha Do you think they actually would? Has that been heard of? Or is this friend just making things up? haha


sorry this is random. haha
nicthediva
Swing
joined:7/19/12
Phantom Lip-Syncing??
Posted: 7/21/12 at 07:49pm
The whole cast wouldn't lip synch, god no.
SweeneyPhanatic
Broadway Star
joined:1/4/06
Phantom Lip-Syncing??
Posted: 7/21/12 at 07:52pm
I know the entire title song, during the descent to the Phantom's lair, is pre-recorded because the real Phantom & Christine have to...well, I'm not sure exactly WHAT they're doing, but it involves disappearing through the mirror & getting into the boat off stage while doubles lip-sync on the ramp.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Phantom's voiceovers are pre-recorded, but the only song I know for certain is the one I mentioned above.
-- SDG
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/21/12 at 08:04pm
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artscallion
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/07
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/21/12 at 09:48pm
I had heard...can't remember where...that many of the Christines that followed the original, Sarah Brightman, could not hit a few of the high notes that Sarah had. So they used a recording of her hitting them to fill in just those notes.
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CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/21/12 at 09:53pm
^They don't use a recording of Sarah Brightman hitting the notes, but the last note in the title song is pre-recorded, I assume by each actress who only ever has to hit it once in a studio.
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Updated On: 7/21/12 at 09:53 PM
The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 12:28am
From what I understand, Christine's pre-recorded high note at the end of the title song is used only as "backups" if the actress is not confident she can do it on a particular night.

Updated On: 7/22/12 at 12:28 AM
ThankstoPhantom
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/05
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 12:37am
For the record, the 'real' Phantom and Christine back on stage on the bridge from SL after the initial cross of the 'bridge doubles' from SR to SL. It is so often said that they reappear on the boat, which is, I assure you, incorrect.

When the show first opened in London back in 1986, the title song was sung live throughout that first year (at least from when the Phantom and Christine were on the boat). The cadenza at the end, whilst definitely in the ranges of the actresses, proved difficult to execute in the desired way on a consistent basis. I've read this numerous times from @rebeccacaine, but she tweets so often that

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Updated On: 7/22/12 at 12:37 AM
My Oh My
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/07
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 01:22am
I always knew there was something off about the title song, I just didn't know exactly which bits were prerecorded and which ones sung live. The cadenza was always obviously canned since every single Christine I've ever seen does a poor job lip-synching it. It's almost as if they want you to know it isn't live, LOL.

I don't recall ever feeling disappointed that song is mostly prerecorded, and I'm usually staunchly against such practices. I guess it's a fair trade off with the neat staging. Anyone who actually thinks that all of those couples are the same Christine and Phantom that started the song off must truly believe in magic because there's no way they could suddenly appear here and there in an instant. It was always obvious there were doubles involved. I find those who act as if the prerecorded thing is a major scandal amusing, haha. With all that moving around through all that intricate machinery, it makes sense.

I thought I read somewhere that only part of the orchestra is prerecorded and most of it plays live during the title song. Would anyone know exactly which sections of the orchestra play live? At the end of the title song, there's a really awesomely manic string section that I've always hoped was live. I was extremely tempted when I saw the 3rd NT in Costa Mesa back in '08, to peak into the orchestra pit during that song but that would've been hella ghetto, so I didn't, even if the woman in front of me did. I almost asked her at intermission what she saw, but she had down syndrome and--while I've encountered many with the condition who are perfectly capable in many areas--she seemed to have a very advanced case, so I didn't bother her or her family.

Prolly should have asked. Maybe she would have said "Nothing. Absolutely nada! Just a big tape recorderrrr!" :S
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The Scorpion
Featured Actor
joined:1/3/07
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 06:09am
I thought I read somewhere that only part of the orchestra is prerecorded and most of it plays live during the title song. Would anyone know exactly which sections of the orchestra play live? At the end of the title song, there's a really awesomely manic string section that I've always hoped was live

The string section is live. The only bits towards the end that aren't are the synth beat, the organ and the guitar.

Re Christines and their end note, ALW claimed after Sarah Brightman left that he wanted the note to seem like it was 'magically' coming out of her mouth. That was the justification he gave to the Christines that followed her anyway, but I'm sure preserving the actors' voices has something to do with it. I'm not so sure about Broadway, but in London certain Christines often choose to sing over the pre-recorded notes, and the sound people adjust accordingly. Rachel Barrell, for instance, frequently used to sing those vocalisations live.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 04:48pm
Prince is no stranger to lip synching--parts of Follies were as well. I think it's justified and doesn't bother me.
temms
Broadway Star
joined:7/21/04
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 05:52pm
The entire first verse of the Overture (the Organ) is recorded. The orchestra doesn't play until the trumpets enter on the second verse.

Most of the title song vocals are on tape - I'm pretty sure that "In all your fantasies, you always knew" is where they pick up live again. The cadenza and high note are back on tape. The Phantom's offstage verse in "Notes" is prerecorded.

I think there are one or two other little spots as well.
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 06:01pm
Julie Andrews recorded the famous ascension in "Le Jazz hot" and it was fairly obvious, as her entire vocal performance was carefully measured so that she could perform it 8 times a week.
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AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 06:07pm
"Most of the title song vocals are on tape - I'm pretty sure that "In all your fantasies, you always knew" is where they pick up live again. The cadenza and high note are back on tape."

Though to be technical I'm sure there's nothing on "tape" anymore, as I can not imagine that they did not go entirely digital when they upgraded the sound system a few years ago, if not well before then.

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CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 06:09pm
^Is that true about Julie Andrews? Did they also use the recording on the DVD, because if so I can't imagine why they wouldn't have gone with a better recording of it.
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temms
Broadway Star
joined:7/21/04
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 06:13pm
Right, "tape" is probably not the format anymore. I used to have a copy of the Piano/Conductor score from the German production, long since borrowed and not returned, and each pre-recorded place was labeled "auf Band" ("on tape"), so that's where my mind goes.

On an unrelated note, how nice is it not to have to use tape anymore for that kind of thing?
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 07:26pm
I know that there were some major tape issues with Follies up until opening night.
winston89
Broadway Legend
joined:6/18/06
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:00pm
A couple of years back, a friend of mine, who was responsible for recreating the set for the Broadway production, took me on a backstage tour of Phantom as a surprise birthday gift. One of the things that I did see was a little shelf. On that shelf there were two earpieces, a monitor and two microphones. I was told that that was where the offstage singing was done. I know that one part that is sung offstage and is not pre recorded is the little bit of All I ask of You that Raoul and Christine sing at the end of the show. I don't know (maybe someone here knows) if there are any other parts that are sung offstage rather than pre recorded?

Also, it was cool sitting in our seats talking to her prior to the show starting, seeing them prep for that evening's performance. Part of the pre show set up consisted of going through all the pre recorded tracks to make sure that they were ready and working for the show. One thing I did notice was that there were some lines/parts that were pre recorded that didn't seem that they needed to be.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:23pm
"Prince is no stranger to lip synching--parts of Follies were as well. I think it's justified and doesn't bother me."

Which parts and how do we know, Eric? I'm curious because I think that would have caused a furor had it been publicized in 1971.

Are you only talking about the chaos section at the end of Loveland? I think that was (and still is) understood to be a sort of special effect, with recordings added to live performances to achieve the desired cacophony. Not exactly the same as "lip-synching" a solo or duet.

But I remember the righteous indignation on "the Street" when it was leaked that some of Liza Minnelli's vocals were taped so that she could sing while dancing in THE ACT. That was six years after FOLLIES and there was considerable outrage; to most people at the time, it seemed unprecedented.

***

As for PHANTOM, I'm sure I don't need to reiterate my hatred for the "tricks" in the title number sequence. Phony cinema at the expense of live theatricality. I hate it even more now that people I respect (Eric most definitely included) find it acceptable. How sad that shoddy theme-park staging could come from the same man who had staged "Too Many Mornings" and "Someone in a Tree" so brilliantly!
nasty_khakis
Broadway Star
joined:3/15/07
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:30pm
Follies used some prerecorded vocals during "Who's That Woman" and in "Loveland" I believe to sweeten the sound, not entirely lip sync. Hairspray also used them during "You Can't Stop the Beat" and Xanadu used them for exactly 2 lines of "I'm Alive" since most of the cast was under the stage and had to worry about stepping onto the lift, etc.

Parts of "Bring it On" are sweetened, parts are entirely lip synced, and parts are supposed to be a "recorded" voice as part of the routine.
My Oh My
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/07
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:36pm
Which parts of Follies were prerecorded?

The only part I could think of that would be is right before Loveland when they're all singing, yelling, talking at the same time as the curtain descends (in the recent revival).
Recreation of original John Cameron orchestration to "On My Own" by yours truly. Click player below to hear.
nasty_khakis
Broadway Star
joined:3/15/07
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:40pm
This is all addressed in Ted Chaplain's book. The prerecorded some of the ensemble vocals in "Who's that Woman" so it would sound bigger, louder, richer, etc. They were still singing live, just WITH the track to increase the sound. They caused a lot of problems syncing them with the orchestra and Equity eventually forced them to pay the actors an extra week's salary for doing the recordings.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:40pm
I don't think they are singing before Loveland, just arguing. But since the arguments are going on simultaneously in 1941 and 1971, we only understand snippets of dialogue here and there.

The entire cast sings portions of their own numbers at the END of Loveland, to signify Ben's psychological break. It's supposed to be a dramatization of a Freudian catharsis. Supposedly every song in the show is somewhere in the vocals or orchestration. I do believe recordings were used to sweeten this section.

***

ETA Thank you, nasty_khakis, that makes perfect sense. I didn't live in New York at the time, so I don't know if the sweetening for "Who's That Woman?" caused outrage or not. Sounds like AEA wasn't thrilled at the process of combining recordings with live performances, not if the union made the production pay extra salaries.

Updated On: 7/22/12 at 08:40 PM
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:46pm
Yes, to be clear it was sweetened, not totally lip synchbed. Chapin goes into it at some length--but Who's That Woman, Loveland and I believe the breakdown were the parts it was used for, as mentioned.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 7/22/12 at 08:59pm
Thanks, Eric. I obviously need to reread the Chapin book. I devoured it so hungrily when it came out that I'm sure I missed many details. It should be particularly meaningful now that the revival is fresh in my mind.

ETA I also need to dig my copy of the original production script out of the garage. My memory is that the revival book cut down a lot of the character details of the supporting players, in the process increasing our focus on the central quartet. But I need to reread the original. It's entirely possible I've invented "new scenes" or at least new lines in my memory of it.
Updated On: 7/22/12 at 08:59 PM
TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 01:25pm
I found this video on Youtube. John Cudia, who used to play the Phantom, explains how Raoul and Christine run to the basement and put on a headset to sing "All I Ask of You (Reprise)" live. To see it, skip to about 7:50.
Video
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