An historical achievement for The Phantom of the Opera – and the show celebrates its 21st birthday too!
Well it seems that the blog entries are getting further apart over the last few weeks. Time sure seems to be flying by, but I guess the saying is true, “time flies when you’re having fun”. I know it’s almost a month over due but let’s talk about the 21st anniversary.
October 2, 2007, The Phantom of The Opera came of age. Twenty-one years this show has resided in Her Majesty’s Theatre. It’s birthplace. Who knew it would last this long and still be going stronger than ever. Phantom has surpassed all expectations, globally. But we all know what the Phantom has accomplished over the years. However recently we won the award for Lastminute.com’s people’s choice award for favourite musical number for ‘Music of The Night’. Here I am accepting the award in the dressing room. Now it’s not an Olivier but after 21 years the public are still voting for this show. Well done Phantom.
It was an early start on the 9th. First it was great to have Nic perform the role during the matinee. It was a great day to be part of the show but to actually be in it was something he deserved and I was so happy for him. Now the reason Nic was playing the Phantom for the matinee was because myself, and Robyn were making our talk show debut on the Alan Tichmarsh show. What an experience that was. To not only be there representing the Phantom’s 21st as The Phantom and Christine, but to perform ‘Music of The Night’ (lastminute.com’s people’s choice award) was such a sense of achievement as well. It was pretty surreal all in all, but a great experience nonetheless. What was pretty spooky but again fitting was that I started singing ‘Music of the Night’ (lastminute.com’s people’s choice award)at approximately 3:05 pm live. At that exact time Nic was singing ‘Music of the Night’ (lastminute.com’s people’s choice award) on stage at Her Majesty’s. For those cast members who were able to watch us on TV at the theatre was like they were getting it in stereo. Perfect timing I say.
The evening performance had electricity in ten folds from the audience and us behind the curtains, above and below the stage. I know that I tried not to get too excited and keep my mind focussed like any other show. But you do feed off the audience and how could you not get excited knowing how everyone was feeling. It was an electric show and everyone gave such a great performance. The feedback from the audience was amazing throughout the show. The original creatives that were in attendance, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, Gillian Lynne, Richard Stilgoe, and Andrew Bridge were very complimentary and happy with the standard of the show. It’s great to know we are still honouring their original vision but able to come at it with our own interpretations as well.
The current creatives were there as well, Laurence Connor, Lynn Jezzard, Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy, and Bjorn Dobbelaere. They should be proud that the show is in the shape it currently is in. They have maintained the standard that was set 21 years ago and have mirrored the passion and integrity that the original creatives had. They have allowed the show to grow as well and brought new touches here and there and have also allowed us as actors to create our characters with our own take as well. This is why I think the Phantom has stood the test of time and is still standing strong. A lot of care continues to go into the show. This matched with such a great score, brilliant story and breathtaking scenery, how can it not go on and on. I still think the show is able maintain and push the standards in the West End as well as stages across the globe.
We have an amazing stage management and a crew who work harder than anyone I know. When I hear how hard and long their days are, we as actors truly do have it easy. It’s great to know that we are in the best hands we could ask for. Without them making sure the show is running at it’s best, we could not be able to freely do what we do every night.
At the end of the evening’s performance I paid tribute to the true originals who have been with the show for 21 years day in and day out. They have kept their passion and love for the show which has only influenced those who have come and gone from the show through the years. First we have Lynn Jezzard (Resident Choreographer, and also original member of The Ballet Chorus of the Opera Populaire, and The Duchess). She is so integral to each new cast that comes into the show. Her knowledge of the show is second to none. She truly is a diamond.
We have our nine orchestra members who have been with the show since 1986. They are the talented Keith Marshall (Oboe/Cor Anglais/Assistant Conductor), Richard Wall (Bass Trombone), Dave Locke (Percussion), Dave Rose (Double Bass), Frances Walker (Violin 5), Gordon Buchan (Violin 3), Peter Whitaker (Bassoon), Bob Norris (Cello), and Mike Stanley (Keyboard and my good friend).
It’s the collective efforts of those I’ve mentioned above who have helped maintain the shows integrity after 21 years. They are the unsung heroes of this show and deserve as much credit as we can give.
Anyhow what more can I say? Personally I felt pretty darn proud to be The Phantom at this point in the show’s life and mine. It’s great to look back on the 9th and how great that evening was. What’s more exciting is knowing that we get to relive that nightly while we are part of this years cast of The Phantom of The Opera.
p.s. Did I mention that ‘Music of the Night’ is lastminute.com’s people’s choice award for favourite musical number? Just thought I’d say.