As announced in June, this year saw the release of performance rights for The Phantom of the Opera to high schools and colleges across the USA and Canada – giving students the chance to perform those iconic roles for the first time.
With New Jersey’s County College of Morris already blogging away, this week Great Neck South High School in New York also open their blogs for us, as they too will become one of the first US high schools to stage their production of Phantom later this month.
In this first installment of the Great Neck South blog Aaron, who will play the show’s Phantom, gives us his thoughts on playing this iconic role!
Aaron M’s Phantom Blog
Hey, I’m Aaron and I’m super psyched to be originating the role of Phantom! In my high school! Seriously though, it’s an awesome show and so much fun to be involved in. There’s a lot more hype surrounding it than previous musicals we’ve done at my school: Great Neck South High. There are flyers for it all over town, all the teachers know about it, and I’ve gotten quite a few comments from generally uninvolved students about my being cast as the dissonant composer.
The Phantom is a really great character because of his dual nature. He is someone the audience can relate to and sympathize with – a broken-hearted lover – but he’s also kind of a stalker-maniac. His back-story is like a combination of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and many renowned serial killers – he’s been rejected and tortured by society since birth because of his deformity. However, what he lacks in looks he makes up for in brainpower – exhibiting remarkable musical skills (although some strange musical taste), large-scale magician-esque mechanical abilities, and an apparent hypnotism over Christine, his intended bride-to-be.
As a high school student, it’s easily the most exciting role I’ve had a chance to play. I mean, I get to shoot fireballs from my fingers. ‘Nuff said. But looking at the rest of the show as well, it’s got great characters, a famous plot, and so much spectacle it’s still a wonder we finally have access to it off Broadway. I don’t really know what’s going on at the crew’s end of the spectrum but they’ve never let any of the school productions down before, and I’ve been hearing rumors of a remote controlled boat and a few other surprises I don’t want to write down.
Anyway, it’s coming along quite smoothly. As it happens, I haven’t even been called for too many rehearsals. I didn’t realize how little the Phantom appears onstage, or at least on stage with anyone other than Christine and Raoul. He does a lot of reverberated backstage singing and death-threat delivering though, so he remains ever-present throughout the show even when he’s virtually invisible.
Wrapping this up now though, I’m personally thrilled to be involved in one of the first non-professional productions of this show since its very inception way back when. It’s going to be amazing. Whoever is reading this should come see the show if you can! You won’t forget to of course, because the Phantom will always be in the back of your mind reminding you. Reminding you. Reminding you.
Check back for more from Great Neck South – next time the show’s Christine gives us her take!
PLEASE NOTE, the release of performance rights for The Phantom of the Opera is at this stage restricted to high schools and colleges across the USA and Canada only.