Photo Flash: First Look at WBT's PHANTOM
Arthur Kopit/ Maury Yeston's "PHANTOM" made its New York Premiere here at WBT in 1992. During our record breaking nine- month run, over 120,000 people attended. Night after night, audiences rose to their feet for the stunning musical thriller. The original production was directed by William Pullinsi and starred Robert Cuccioli as the Phantom and Glory Crampton as Christine Daee. "PHANTOM" returned to our stage in 1996 and 2007 directed and choreographed by Tom Polum, who had been in the original production. William Stutler, Robert Funking, and the entire staff of WBT are very excited that this extraordinary piece, once again directed and choreographed by Tom Polum, will grace our stage.
"PHANTOM" was written by Arthur Kopit, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston who were the Tony Award winning collaborators for the Broadway Musical "Nine". "PHANTOM" is not to be confused with Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera", which is currently running on Broadway. Both shows are based on the same Gaston Leroux novel, with the Webber extravaganza being more like an opera, completely sung. The Yeston/Kopit "PHANTOM" is more of a traditional Broadway Musical with dialogue and songs throughout.
show opened here at WBT on July 16th, 1992 to rave reviews. Jacques LeSourd critic from Gannett Suburban Newspapers stated... "re is also a gripping story, richly drawn characters, and music that can break your heart with its beauty... You'll find none of that in the Broadway 'Phantom'.... rich orchestrations bring to mind 'Sweeney Todd' and even the propulsive sounds of Philip Glass. This is a score in the grand manner". Howard Kissel, critic from the New York Daily News said: " first Genuine Broadway Musical I've seen in years and the most genuinely exciting Broadway Musical I've seen in years"..."Capturing the genuine 'Phantom"..." Despite all its masquerading, the real thing isn't on West 44th Street; it's playing here in Westchester". He was referring to our wonderful production of "PHANTOM"!
The story revolves around the central character of a man named Erik, (also known as the Phantom) who was born and raised in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House. Through a series of circumstances, he takes on as a pupil a young woman named Christine, who has been a street singer. She has a natural talent and a beautiful voice, but she lacks the special training to perform in an Opera company. He agrees to take her on as a student with certain conditions, the main one being that she will never see his face. After a lot of hard work she eventually auditions for the company and is not only accepted but is given the opportunity to play a principal part in an Opera. Without realizing it, they fall in love with each other. The relationship becomes obsessive and impossible, leading to a stunning conclusion which can only be experienced by attending a performance here at the Westchester Broadway Theatre.
The music and the drama of this piece are extraordinary and should not be missed! From our show that was seen by many members of The Alliance for Musical Theatre Producers, came scores of productions around the country. After seeing our production of "PHANTOM", RCA Victor produced a CD recording of the show. including WBT cast members, Glory Crampton who played Christine, Meg Bussert who played Carlotta, and most of our ensemble. For those of you who have already seen "PHANTOM" we will be adding a few surprises, and if you have only seen it once, it is definitely worth seeing a second time
The Cast Features: Matthew Billman (as Erik; The Phantom), Kayleen Seidl (Christine Daaé), James Van Treuren (Gérard Carrière), Larry Luck (Count Philippe de Chandon), Sandy Rosenberg(Carlotta), Kilty Reidy (Alaine Cholet), Stuart Marland (Inspector Ledoux) Ryan Alexander Jacobs (Joseph Buquet) and Roger Preston Smith (Jean Claude).
The multi-talented Ensemble: Christopher Brand, Julia Louise Hosack, , Alec James, Caroline Kane, Melissa Maricich, Corey Joseph Masklee, Alison Rose Munn, Andrew Norlen, Monica Owen, Jose Plaza, Don Rey, and Kelsey Self.
Directed & Choreographed by Tom Polum, The Musical Director is Bob Bray;
Associate Choreographer is Erica Mansfield. Set Design by Steve Loftus, Lighting Design by Andrew Gmoser, Sound Design by Mark Zuckerman. TheCostume Designer is Keith Nielsen, Wig/Hair Design by Gerard Kelly, the Production Stage Manager is Victor Lukas, and Properties are by Grumpy's Props. Lisa Tiso is the Associate Producer.
Photo Credit: John Vecchiolla