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‘Phantom of the Opera’ begins April 11 at UVa-Wise

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaption of “Phantom of the Opera” is the spring 2013 production of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Visual and Performing Arts Department.

Webber’s musicalization of the Gaston Leroux novel won the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical and is the longest running show in Broadway history.

The “pop-opera” tells the story of a deformed man who has suffered the indignity of having been displayed as a freak for the profit of others.  Having escaped and sought refuge in the underground caverns of The Paris Opera House on which he can spy, the man gradually schools himself in music, stagecraft, and its magic.  Eventually, under the guise of “The Phantom,” the man uses his considerable skills to engineer an elaborate ruse to take over the opera company, produce his own works of tortured musical composition, and seduce Christine, the opera’s young ingénue, through hypnotism and intimidation. What the Phantom doesn’t plan for, through his tirade of vengeance, is Christine’s sympathy. 

The cast of 21 students and the production team of 10 students have been working diligently to learn the show and create a “spectacle beyond imagination.”  Music rehearsals for the show began in October with theatrical rehearsals following in January. 

“When Michael McNulty and Michael Cox were discussing what musical they were going to do for this spring, I never would have dreamed we would be doing Phantom,” said Josh Worrell, a senior theater major cast as the Phantom. “To be only 21, I never thought I would be playing such an extreme role. The cast and crew are working very hard to make this rise above the expectations of an amateur show so the musical has a more professional feel.”

Worrell said the production includes many scenes that McNulty, the director, has totally reimagined, especially the scene in which the musical’s signature song, Music of the Night, takes place.

“I won’t give away the surprises, but McNulty stages the number brilliantly and elevates the song to new heights,” Worrell said. “Overall, it’s a great production and it will be a lot of fun for the whole family.”                                             

Michael McNulty directs the show. The vocal director is Michael Cox, the music director is Donnie Sorah and the technical director is Ben Mays.  Costumes are designed by Cathleen Bell and lighting by Erin Kellam. 

The show will be performed April 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20 at 8 p.m. and April 14 and 21 at 2 p.m.  The public is cordially invited to attend this production. Tickets are $10 for the general public and are available on a first come first serve basis beginning approximately one hour before the show. Reservations are not accepted, but patrons unable to get tickets in person at a sold out performance will be offered reservations for another show.

 Faculty, staff, and students of UVa-Wise are admitted free, but must get tickets on the same first come/first serve basis from the box office. 

For more information, contact College Relations at 276-376-1027.