Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Times They Are A-Changin'

As many of you already know, Phantom was Wally's last show. He has been our executive director and producer for the last five years and has worked in essentially every position at the theatre since 1988. While we are very sad to see him go, we are also very happy and excited for the opportunities that he has ahead of him. He is now the president and executive producer for Casa Manana Theatre in Fort Worth, Texas. He is actually in New York City right now for auditions for their upcoming production, Annie, in December. We can't wait to hear all about it!

The office has been pretty quiet this week so far...we are tying up all of the loose ends from the show and don't have another main stage production until March 2009! Right now, we are in "interim" mode until the Board of Directors finalizes our new executive director and artistic director.

We are in very talented and capable hands - Lisa Grele Barrie is our interim executive director. She has been with NCT since 2003, where she was Development Director and then promoted to Managing Director at the beginning of this year. Casey Hushion is our interim artistic director and has worked on several NCT shows, including Phantom, The King and I starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Chess and several Kids on Broadway shows. She was also the associate director on two Tony Award-winning shows on Broadway - In the Heights and The Drowsy Chaperone! Carolee Baxter has been promoted to associate producer. She has been with NCT for the last nine years where she has held an array of positions, most recently as production manager.

Every staff member at NCT is dedicated to the artistic excellence that has been instilled in the theatre for the past 25 years and is excited for what the future holds! Stay tuned for further updates throughout this transition!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Independent Weekly Review of Phantom

By Zack Smith

For the record, Phantom, N.C. Theatre's musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux novel currently playing at Memorial Auditorium, is not the Andrew Lloyd Webber version whose tunes are constantly covered by aspiring singers and elevator-music companies. It's a different version, developed before Webber's, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Arthur Kopit, author of Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad. It plays frequently around the world and was made into a 1990 NBC miniseries you can find on YouTube. While this version features forgettable music compared to Webber's bombastic ballads, it boasts a far stronger, more dramatic story that strikes a deep emotional chord.

To continue reading the review, click here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phantom Video

There are 6 performances left of Yeston & Kopit's Phantom! Below is a compliation of songs from the show - "Where in the World," "Phantom Fugue," "You Are Music" and "Home" featuring our stars Michael Minarik as the Phantom/Erik and Rebecca Pitcher as Christine Daee. Enjoy!

video

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Complex 'Phantom' Shows a Human Heart

By Orla Swift, Staff Writer
RALEIGH - If Memorial Auditorium were inhabited by its own mercurial phantom of the opera, Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s musical “Phantom” would surely soothe him.

As for the more famous Andrew Lloyd Webber version of the story? He’d shut it down.

Yeston and Kopit’s little-known adaptation of the 1910 Gaston Leroux novel about a disfigured man who lives beneath the Paris Opera House has been dubbed “the other ‘Phantom.’ ”

It’s also the better “Phantom.”

To read the full review, click here.

Michael Minarik stars as The Phantom/Erik in the production.
Photo Credit: Curtis Brown Photography

Classical Voice of North Carolina's Review of Phantom

Robert McDowell came to Opening Night of our production of Phantom and gave it a glowing review! To read it, please see below!

North Carolina Theatre Review

LUMINOUS PERFORMANCES BY MICHAEL MINARIK AND REBECCA PITCHER
MAKE YESTON AND KOPIT’S OPERATIC “PHANTOM” SPARKLE

Luminous performances by Michael Minarik as the Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera and Rebecca Pitcher as his protégé, Christine Daaé, help make North Carolina Theatre’s gala production of YESTON AND KOPIT’S “PHANTOM” sparkle, shimmer, and shine as bright as a Super Nova. Composer and lyricist Maury Yeston and librettist Arthur L. Kopit’s 1991 musical, subtitled “The American Musical Sensation,” is truly sensational and even operatic, whereas Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 London and 1988 Broadway hit, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, has a lot in common with his previous rock operas.

This fabulous PHANTOM, which concludes NCT’s 2008 season, is a real musical extravaganza, with soaring sets from Theatre Under the Stars’ world-premiere production in Houston, Texas, an d dazzling 19th century costumes from Malabar Limited of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The spectacular scenery and wardrobe combine with the effervescent staging of frequent NCT guest director Casey Hushion, the dynamic production numbers devised by choreographer Jennifer Werner, and the theatrical magic of technical director Bill Yates, Jr., lighting designer Craig Stelzenmuller, costumer Ann M. Bruskiewitz, and properties mistress Laurie Johnson to make this PHANTOM a feast for the eye.

The show’s only awkward moments come at the end -- in the climactic showdown between the fleeing Phantom and his implacable pursuers -- but that momentary awkwardness – which is as much the fault of the script as the staging -- is quickly forgiven and forgotten, because of the overall strength of the NCT cast and the crew and production values comparable to a National Tour.

Musical director Edward G. Robinson and the energetic NCT orchestra also joined forces with sound designer Jonathan Parke to make the marvelous melodies in Yeston’s superlative score alternately thrill and chill the Sunday-matinee audience, which expressed its appreciation in a loud and lengthy standing ovation.

Director Casey Hushion and choreographer Jennifer Werner liven up this frisky PHANTOM with more than a little of the old razzle-dazzle, and the production also boasts a superb vocal ensemble and a host of charismatic characterizations, starting with Michael Minarik’s passionate performance in the title role and Rebecca Pitcher’s heart-tugging portrayal of Christine, the beautiful but untrained street singer whom Erik, the hideously deformed “Ghost of the Opera,” transforms into a true diva and with whom he falls completely, hopelessly in love.

Neal Benari is likewise terrific as Gérard Carrière, the abruptly dismissed long-time managing director of the Paris Opera (and the Phantom’s secret protector); and Tom Soubrada and especially Ellen Harvey give wonderfully wicked performances as this musical’s king and queen of mean, the opera’s new owners, the puffed-up Alain Cholet and his shrewish wife, the would-be diva La Carlotta, who has a voice that could curdle cream -- not to mention infuriate an angry Phantom inhabiting the subterranean chambers of the Paris Opera.

Harvey’s antics as Carlotta steal many a scene; Jarrod Emick is also good as Christine’s wealthy number-one admirer, the handsome bon vivant champagne heir, Count Philippe de Chandon; and Rob Sheridan adds a pair of crisp cameos as the corrupt French Minister of Culture and the bluff Parisian Police Inspector Ledoux.

This week, the North Carolina Theatre will conclude its warmly applauded 2008 season with what can truly be called a “must-see musical.” YESTON AND KOPIT’S “PHANTOM” will delight and amaze Triangle theatergoers, who are more familiar with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Moreover, there are enough differences between this American PHANTOM and the British to PHANTOM provide some pleasant surprises. Don’t miss it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Staging a gentler 'Phantom'

There was a great article in the News & Observer on Sunday, October 12th! Click on the link below and be sure to check out the slideshow of pictures!

http://www.newsobserver.com/2766/story/1252020.html

Yeston & Kopit's Phantom vs. Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera


NCT's Yeston & Kopit's Phantom opens next Saturday, October 18th and runs through the 26th in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium! We have an all-star cast for this production and we are very excited about it. Rehearsals started this past weekend and they have been working very hard to put the show up! This version of Phantom is based off of the Gaston Leroux novel, The Phantom of the Opera, and differs from the Andrew Lloyd Webber version - The Phantom of the Opera - currently running on Broadway.

In 1982 Actor/director Geoffrey Holder obtained the rights to Leroux's novel, The Phantom of the Opera, and planned to make an American musical based on the novel. Below is a timeline of events on how Phantom made it to the stage and takes a look at the race for Broadway - between Yeston & Kopit and Andrew LLoyd Webber.
  • Holder approached Yeston and Kopit to write the musical – this version of Phantom would be the first and only Phantom of the Opera musical
  • 1984: British producer Ken Hill produced The Phantom of the Opera, the musical, in England
  • Holder had the rights to the novel for two years in the United States and Europe before it became public domain
  • The rights to Leroux’s novel were available in the public domain in Great Britain
  • Variety published an article saying that Andrew Lloyd Weber was planning to produce the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera in London
  • 1986: The Phantom of the Opera was a huge hit in London and Lloyd Webber announced a Broadway production
  • Yeston and Kopit’s investors backed out once they saw the huge success of Lloyd Webber’s version
  • Kopit saw the Lloyd Webber version of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and realized that there were significant differences from the American version and thought it could still work
  • A few years later, Kopit changed the script to a two-part miniseries for NBC – the production was shot at the Paris Opera House and starred Charles Dance as the Phantom
  • 1991: Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars put together a new team to put up the world premiere of Yeston & Kopit’s show, Phantom
  • Yeston and Kopit made a few changes after the Houston run, and presented it the next fall in Seattle and San Bernardino
  • Ever since, audiences have been captivated by Yeston and Kopit’s twist on the Phantom –beginning the story earlier in his life, introducing his father as a character and other turns along the way
  • Currently grossed over $500 million world wide