Brown & Morsley Lead Cast in London Premiere of Yeston & Kopit's PHANTOM
"In the beginning, there were no Phantom Of The Opera musicals. There was just a void."
So wrote librettist Arthur Kopit in the "liner notes" for the Original Cast Album of the musical Phantom, which he co-wrote with Maury Yeston. Of course, as everyone knows, a certain Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber tried to fill the void with his mega-successful musical re-telling of the Gaston Leroux Novel. But there is also a lesser known, but certainly not lesser quality Phantom musical, which is about to receive its UK professional premiere at Walthamstow's Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre from 14 to 31 May 2013. The show will be produced by Andrew Yon for All Star Productions, the resident company at Ye Olde Rose And Crown Theatre, which has gained a reputation for quality fringe theatre musical productions, including Godspell, She Loves Me, Flora The Red Menace and Howard Goodall's Girlfriends.
Arthur Kopit, who wrote the Book for the hit musical Nine, is the award-winning playwright of the plays Wings, Indians and Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You In The Closet And I'm Feeling So Sad. Maury Yeston is the two-time Tony Award winning composer/lyricist of the musicals Nine and Titanic. He also wrote new songs for Tommy Tune's 1989 reworked production of Grand Hotel and his show Death Takes A Holiday was seen Off-Broadway in 2011. London will also be treated to its first viewing of Yeston's Titanic in the summer of 2013 in Danielle Tarento's new production at the Southwark Playhouse helmed by director Thom Southerland.
Yeston and Kopit begun work on Phantom back in 1983 but Lloyd Webber was able to get his version "out there" ahead of them. The world premiere of Phantom was presented at The Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, Texas in 1991 and a cast album was recorded. There have been a host of productions since in various regional locations in the USA as well as in Australia, Estonia and Japan. Kopit's Book and Yeston's glorious score have garnered high praise and The Los Angeles Times review commented: "There is a lot more understanding of Erik than of Lloyd Webber's more furtive phantom."
In this new staging of this different spin on the PhanTom Story, the eponymous iconic role will be played by Kieran Brown. A native of Scotland and a graduate of the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, Brown 's performing credits include roles in Wicked (Apollo Victoria), Love Never Dies (Adelphi), Christopher Hamilton's musical Over The Threshold (Edinburgh Fringe), the UK tour of Laughter In The Rain and The Woman In Black and A Christmas Carol (both at the InterNational Theatre Vienna). He has also performed solo cabaret shows at The Pheasantry and The Union Theatre to great acclaim.
The role of Christine will be played by native Australian Kira Morsley, a graduate of the WA Academy of Performing Arts, Australia's premier Musical Theatre school. Kira has appeared in productions of Les Miserables, Seussical, A Little Night Music, Parade, 42nd Street, Rent, Oklahoma! and Jane Eyre. She has also established herself as a regular performer on London's concert and cabaret scene and in January 2013 she was a member of the cast of the workshop of the brand new musical, My Land's Shore.
Brown and Morsley will be joined onstage by Pippa Winslow, Andrew G Rivera, Tom Murphy, Sean Paul Jenkinson, Elizabeth Atkinson, Matthew James Willis, Thomas Hewitt, Gregory Hazel, Mark Byles, David Jay Douglas, Harriet Payne, Emily Apps and Rebecca Westberry. The creative team for the production includes musical director/orchestrater Aaron Clingham, movement director Brendan Matthew, designer Jenny Gamble, lighting designer Sky Bembury and casting director Benjamin Newsome.