Rehearsals are well under way now. I mentioned before that I won’t be too involved with the rehearsals this time round to get the new Standby, Nic Greensheilds up and running. However, today is my one and only day of rehearsal until the dress run and photo shoot. I am really looking forward to it as it’s an all day thing with pockets of time where I’m not needed and I can try and put my camera to use for all you guys.

In the morning it’s just me and the Christine’s working on the first lair, mainly ‘Music of the Night’. I personally think this is the Phantom’s hardest scene. ‘Music of the Night’ is very complex. There is so much to establish in this scene and a lot of layers to unfold. Laurence has really magnified more of the Phantom’s vulnerability during ‘Music of the Night’. Since I’ve had the advantage of being Standby for a year now we can really work on the finer details of this scene. I won’t write too much about the intricacies that we have and are working on. That’s for you all to come and see it and have your own interpretation on it.

One of my favourite memories of this rehearsal was doing ‘Music of the Night’ with Robyn, (who was the Christine for this rehearsal), and Laurence turning off every light in the theatre, auditorium, orchestra pit, working lights, and even the emergency lights. Leaving only the candles on stage lit. It is an amazing feeling being in complete darkness like that. Your senses really do get heightened in the darkness… (cue the song) How corny am I? But you start hearing the smallest things, which you never would in the light. Then the way the scene unfolded in those conditions from the top of the number was so intimate and delicate.

I thought this exercise really helped to get the physicality of the Phantom as well. Again I could really go into detail about some of the things we discussed and have put into the the character but I would much rather you all see it and digest it for yourselves when you come to see the show. But I am loving it.

In the afternoon after lunch we worked on ‘Masquerade’. Most of it had been taught, but with the whole cast there, which is a rarity, we were able to solidify the scene with a few runs of it. While Lynne worked on some specific moments with groups of people, I was able to start flashing away.

Here is our Andre, and Phantom understudy, the legend that is, Sam Hiller. He is without a doubt one of the warmest, and friendliest guys I know. He is a very talented actor and a great leader within the company. He is also a tear jerking, painfully funny man. Even this photo makes me laugh. What a diamond.

I was so happy to be able to catch this photo. Our Ballet Chorus consists of Anna Cervantes, Naomi Cobby, Alison Croft, Liesl Dowsett, Emma Northmore, Claire Tilling and Fiona Morley. They are all beautiful dancers and here is Alison limbering up before our run of ‘Masquerade’.

Three great guys, Benjamin Lake (Piangi), Sam “Get our of my Chair” Hiller, (Again), and Matthew McKenna (Jeweller). Benjamin is a very talented actor who I think we are very fortunate to have part of our 21st anniversary. Great Piangi. I would also like to say watch out for Matthew McKenna. This guy has a rockin’ voice. Stellar.

Then we have myself and Mini Me… er… I mean Nic. Actually what I love about this photo is how comfortable he is in those shoes. For those who haven’t seen the show, Nic is in his Masquerade shoes to get used to going down the stairs with them and the trap. Seriously though, he is an amazing Phantom and has already made the role his own. Seriously good actor, seriously good singer.

… and as the day draws to and end I’m left thinking… how did that punting go again?

 Before I sign off I have an apology to make. I am so sorry to Trevor York who I failed to mention in my meet and greet blog. He was in attendence and he is ace. He is our rehearsal pianist and his knowledge of the show is second to none. He’s been part of my Phantom journey since the beginning when I came in as Raoul in 2003. Trevor can you ever forgive me for failing to mention you? Sorry!

Love to you all,
Ramin Karimloo

Her Majesty’s Theatre London