Phantom of the Opera unmasks at Austin’s Bass Concert Hall
Decades ago The Phantom of the Opera was my first exposure to high quality musical theater. When he entered the scene in 1986, he set the bar very high. I think it’s fair to say that the phenomenon that is Ghost is unique and has never and never will be reproduced. Not only because it broke all sorts of box office records in its day and is still the longest-running Broadway show of all time, but because of the haunting score that propels its audiences into a deep cave of emotions.
Music supervisor John Rigby is quick to extol the virtues of The Phantom of the Opera and its composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber. “I think his contribution to the world of musical theater cannot be underestimated – he is one of the greatest living composers in musical theater.”
Phantom tells the story of a soprano singer who is the object of affection of a disfigured musical genius. The award-winning show which is over 30 years old has been reinvented and runs with a cast of over 50, including extremely talented musicians.
Rigby has prepared the current orchestra and cast for the tour, which will unmask at Bass Concert Hall on April 19 for nearly two weeks. He has a long history of working with Andrew Lloyd Webber and says that although the current touring production has some differences from previous tours, the score remains unchanged. “It’s one of Andrew’s best-known and beloved creations – it’s not something we want to play with, but we’ve revised the orchestration.”
Rigby says that in preparation for Phantom’s 25th anniversary tour several years ago, the show was re-examined to determine how it might be updated for 21st century audiences. “I think that’s one of the hallmarks of a great piece of musical theater – that they stand up to re-examination and different productions the same way opera and Shakespeare do.”
The production stopping in Austin includes updated sets, costumes, directing and stage design. Rigby says he has a “sweep” that matches the music. âIt has a dramatic character, so we wanted to find a way to reflect that in the orchestration so that when people are in the theater, they feel drawn to the sound as much as the visuals. “
Rigby did not hesitate to sum up the unwavering appeal of The Phantom of the Opera over the years. “It’s a classic love story told through the most passionate and glorious music.” And he says it’s the music that made it possible Ghost such a long story, “But I’m probably biased,” he admits.
That you have seen Ghost five times or not at all, it’s a show that never gets old. âI like to say it’s the same old grape wine, but served in new glasses,â says Rigby.
You can take in The Phantom of the Opera at the Bass Concert Hall from April 19 to 30.