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  1. #1
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    Phantom of the Opera for community theatre groups?

    I belong to an Australian Facebook website that does theatre reviews and announces upcoming auditions for local community theatre groups.

    Today two different Melbourne companies are planning to stage Phantom of The Opera next year.

    Is it just me, or is doing a show that relies on spectacle, precise staging, and tremendous singing skill a car accident waiting to happen?

    This is one show I'm in favor of leaving to the professionals.
    Last edited by essence_of_soy; 10-08-2012 at 12:31 PM.

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    It's not like tremendous singing skill was a requirement for the film version

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    It's not like tremendous singing skill was a requirement for the film version
    Haha....Good point.

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    The film had Auto-Tune. So at least they hit the notes (mostly...) even if they didn't sound too good doing it.

    That last note of the title song could be an utter disaster. Although IIRC in my high school we did have one soprano who could hit a note that high. She couldn't act worth a damn, but she could hit high notes.

    As for the staging, they might have to get creative with that. The singing, unless they edit the songs to unrecognizability, is the biggest concern.

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    If it's High School then no way. They're not gonna find someone who can hit that high E with any strength and without screeching unless they're superbly lucky, and they absolutely will not find a Carlotta.

    If it's just regular community theater, however, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to find some decent singer for it. There are a number of universities in Melbourne. I'm sure there are students at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music who would absolutely love to star in Phantom. There's an Opera Performance degree, even, and normally in a city that size there will be a number of professionals who make a living giving voice lessons who also could theoretically be in the musical. I went to a number of operas and musicals done by local community groups in Ann Arbor that consisted of music majors from UofM and EMU and local voice teachers that were more than adequately performed, and Melbourne is much larger.

    And Auto-Tune Schmatto-Tune. Gerard Butler couldn't sing his way out of a paper bag and Emmy Rossum, while not quite as horrible, botched Think of Me so horribly that that all the people in the scene acting like she's great actually piss me off and I have to remind myself repeatedly that it's not real life. I can sing Think of Me better than she did and I would never try to pull of a role like Christine. ALW ruined his own creation. That movie broke my damn heart.

  6. #6

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    Are they actually doing Phantom of the Opera? There's another show, just called Phantom, that is the same story but much less demanding. I've seen a high school production of it that was quite good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clarice View Post
    Are they actually doing Phantom of the Opera? There's another show, just called Phantom, that is the same story but much less demanding. I've seen a high school production of it that was quite good.
    Yes, it's definitely ALW's Phantom of the Opera.

    http://www.cloc.org.au/news/news_default.htm

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    My Community College was one of the first to do POTA, last Fall. It happens that there are a whole lot of trained singers around.....Maria Arrigotti played Christine. Get a load of her at 3:40 on this video. She was and is stunning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr-qAnB4IE0

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    Having directed community theater before, I would not go there with POTO... Typically with amateur groups, finding somewhat skilled tech crew and tech directors (sound, light, stage manager,etc.) is hard for what you're able to pay, which is often nothing or a small stipend. The tech demands of this show are way too much, IMO, for most amateur groups, and it's likely the performers will suffer from difficult rehearsals in tech week. Nothing worse as a performer than not getting to run the show in it's entirety before opening night because you have to keep starting and stopping to deal with the tech.

    Of course, every group is different, and these groups may actually have the people needed to make this work. And Kudos to them if they do!
    "You may know what you need, but to get what you want better see that you keep what you have." ~ Stephen Sondheim

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    If you saw "Broadway or Bust", two of the boys were ALW's Phantom for their 'signature' roll--it's definitely available. My concern is less the singing (I had that E back in my teens/early twenties, and knew other girls in community theater who did) but first, the effects (how on earth is your average school going to safely do that chandelier?) and the orchestra. The place where I tend to really hear the difference between "amateur" and pro shows is the instrumentals. In high school we made a hash of "Crazy for You" because we didn't HAVE strings--the woodwinds had to double the violin parts and we had one parent who was a professional cellist cover that.

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    I have seen it done very well by a high school performing arts magnet school. I would LOVE to see it on ice. We've watch snippets from youtube, but the whole thing would be fun.

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    Even in professional productions the high E isn't sung live; the last few notes that Christine sings in that part are always on a "click track" that kicks in after the second "sing for me!". The only Christine who did it live was Rebecca Caine, the original London alternate & she was stopped by the producers from doing it after a couple of months as they were afraid she would damage her voice. It would be really impressive for an community theatre group to pull it off.

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    In my experience, usually, when a director at this level chooses a show to do, they purposefully pick shows they think they can cast successfully. So these places may already have certain actors in mind for these roles, so they know they can do the show.

    They don't always think through all the tech issues, though.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    There are some "amatuer" companies that can certainly stage very professional productions. Years ago I saw Les Miserable done by one such group which was fantastic.

    There are a lot of actors out there that may not get professional opportunities but are out there treading the boards in the non-professional companies which are definately worth seeing. I would not be so quick to dismiss them.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I know that a tech crew and special effects company was hired out of Vegas to handle the tech aspects of the show for us.....talented as our in house guys were, POTO was one of those shows that we needed the help for.

    I heard a price tag of 100k for us for that show....but we made a profit. It was sold out almost every show and people raved and raved, even jaded New Yorkers.

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