Latest blog from New Jersey’s County College of Morris

After last week’s introduction to the technical challenges of becoming one of the first US colleges to stage The Phantom of the Opera, in this latest blog update from County College of Morris in New Jersey, the show’s Assistant Producer and Choreographer Colleen McArdle interviews the student actors taking on the iconic roles of Phantom and Christine.

Blog 2 – Interviews with the Phantom & Christine

With less than a week to opening night, the intensity is heating up as we work through our final dress rehearsals. Adding each layer – lights, costumes, props, technology – presents a new challenge for the actors. We sat down with the Phantom and Christine to ask them a few questions about their journey with the show:

Why were you interested in playing this role?

Phantom (Robert Farrugia, Rockland County, NY): “Since I first saw the show on Broadway, there was something that fascinated me about this character. I went into auditions with a strong passion that I really wanted the opportunity to experience the role of the Phantom and that is what I set in my mind to do.

Christine (Kelly Miller, Rockaway, NJ): “This is a dream role for any soprano. After recently playing Cinderella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Mille, I was excited by the challenge of playing this dynamic character.”

What has been the biggest challenge in your journey to develop your characters?

Phantom: “Once I told my friends and family the auditions’ results, everyone asked me, “Will you play the Phantom as an angry soul or a sympathetic man.’ I discovered during my character development in rehearsal that he actually has to be both. Finding the balance between those two traits is the crux of what makes the Phantom an ultimately tender individual to the audience. Your sympathy needs to see thought the evil to the man’s soul behind it.”

Christine: “It is often a challenge to play the ingénue because she something “appears” meek. With Christine the director challenged me to develop a character that has many contrasts from her soft vulnerability to her fiery passion for love.”

What are you most looking forward to on opening night?

Both actors agreed that they are excited to have the energy of a full audience to play to, to connect the emotions on stage with those of the spectators.

Advanced ticket sales are at a historic high and we have had many comments our blog. It is great to be among the first to present this show. Many groups that will be producing it in 2011 are coming to see our production to see how we met the challenges and to get excited for their productions.

Check back for more from County College of Morris – as next week’s blog will report back on the show’s opening night!

All images c. Life In Motion Photography.

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.

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