Rebecca Caine Talks About Her Act, Cosette, and Her Love of Toronto
Rebecca Caine is most known around town as the lady who created the role of Christine in the Canadian premier of The Phantom of the Opera, and since then she's continued to have incredible success in the musical theatre, and the Opera (Caine had also done a considerable amount of Opera in Britain before coming over to Canada for Phantom.)
Caine, who returned to Toronto today, will be performing tomorrow night (Wednesday) as a part of the Shaftesbury Salon Series Concert near Yonge and St. Clair, in the Casa Loma area.
Caine spoke to me about her love of Toronto: "It's always great to be in Toronto and in the first 24 hours I'm always overwhelmed by all the memories. I've had some of the best and worst times of my life here, Phantom, obviously, my debut as Lulu with the Canadian Opera Company and the death of my father whilst I was rehearsing The Cunning Little Vixen."
Caine also spoke about her Phantom co-star, Byron Nease, who passed away back in October. "It's also the first time I've been back since my dear friend Byron Nease, Raoul in the Original Cast of Phantom, killed himself last fall. That's really blind sided me- I found myself in front of my old house in floods of tears a few hours ago." Caine was the first to break news of Nease's passing on twitter - and her tweet was subsequently quoted in publications all over the world.
"It's been nearly 25 years since Phantom and it's been 32 years since I made my debut as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady at The Royal Alexandra Theatre! Not to mention being born here!"
If you follow Caine on twitter (@RebeccaCaine), you'll know she describes herself as having "created the most hated soprano role ever in an 80s mega musical." I wanted to ask her about her animosity towards the role, which has now been played by hundreds of actresses in productions all over the world. Of course, we're talking about Cosette in Les Miserables.
"Well, she's fairly wet, no?" She says, describing the character. "I think it's forgotten that she suffers (only) early on as the child and later on it just seems like she gets out the only nice frock and takes the handsome boy (from) the slightly more interesting but grubby, belty and hotter girl."
"There's been an attempt recently to make her "more interesting", sex her up a bit but frankly, all that flouncing, shouting at poor old Valjean and pouting is anachronistic and makes me giggle."
"Float the high notes properly, however and I'll overlook any ill conceived re-conception!" she says, referencing the many difficult high notes that were put into the Les Mis score to play to the strengths of the original cast.
Caine also gave me a little teaser of what audiences can expect to hear at her show tomorrow. The first act will go through about one hundred years of musical theatre repertoire, and in the second act Caine promises audiences will hear all the mega musical songs they love from Phantom, Les Miserables, and Love Never Dies, the sequel to the original Phantom, which was ill-received in the West End, but has delighted audiences in a new production internationally since.
"I shall drop dead quavering my way through Think of Me at age 90" she jokes.
When asked what she most looks forward too now that she's back in town, Caine lists "seeing my friends and going to the Senator Restaurant, as well as my hairdresser, Mimmo, who cuts my hair better than anyone."
To end things off, I asked Caine what her favourite place to perform has been thus far. "I don't have a favourite..." she states diplomatically, "...but I've toured all over Canada over the last four years and it has been an amazing way to see the country. They are always thrilled we've come and it's been an honour to sing to people from the Maritimes to the Prairies to Yellowknife and to BC."
For more information on her concert in Toronto, visit the website here. Follow Rebecca Caine on twitter @RebeccaCaine, or visit her website www.rebeccacaine.com. Follow Alan Henry on twitter @alanhenryTO.