(Posted July 1)
Canadian high school premiere of 'Phantom' out of this world
By Fred Sherwin
Ryan Binsell and Sarah Blouin star in the St. Peter Musical Theatre production
of Phantom of the Opera . Fred Sherwin/Photo|
St. Peter Musical Theatre company have always put on top notch productions. Some
of the performances that come to mind include last year's Little Shop of Horrors,
Grease, Beauty and the Beast, and of course, Les Misérables
which will always stand out as one of the best high school musical productions
I've ever seen.
year's production of Andre Lloyd Webber's iconic Phantom of the Opera is
on the same level of "Les Miz", if not higher. It's just that good.
June 3, the company which licenses shows by Webber began taking applications from
high schools and colleges to put on their own productions of the famous musical.
St. Peter High School drama department head Bernard Leger made sure St. Peter
was one of the first high schools to submit an application.
word came that their application had been approved, Leger began holding rehearsals
for the ambitious project.
selecting his cast members, he began holding rehearsals under a veil of secrecy.
Members of the cast refrained from discussing the production with their friends
and event the school staff was kept relatively in the dark. All of which resulted
in a heightened level of anticipation when the curtain was raised on the first
of four shows Wednesday night.
a rough opening night, both the cast and orchestra regrouped for last night's
performance which was unbelievable.
outdid himself with the set design and the 20-piece orchestra was point on. In
fact, it was the best orchestral performance for a St. Peter production on any
other high school musical production that I have ever heard.
for the performance on stage, the audio started out a little sketchy, but it was
addressed in very short order in time for the first scene of Act 1 in which La
Carlotta is singing her magnificent aria in a scene of "Hannibal".
the St. Peter production, La Carlotta is played by Allison O'Brien who's operatic
training made her the perfect choice for the prima donna. Her performance set
the bar extremely high for the rest of the production.
the cast rehearses for the evening performance, a backdrop falls on to the ground
nearly hitting La Carlotta. As whispers of "The Phantom, he's here,"
circulate through the chorus, the prima donna storms off the stage, refusing to
perform any longer.
opera's new owners decide to replace her with a Swedish chorus girl named Christine
Daäé at the suggestion of Madame Giry, the ballet mistress.
is played by Sarah Blouin who, a year ago, failed to make the final cut in auditions
for "Little Shop of Horrors".
only previous experience was as a chorus member in "Beauty and the Beast"
her the brevity of her resume, Blouin somehow manages to pull off one of the most
memorable performances on the St. Peter cafetorium stage since Samantha Mouchet
blew everyone away in "Les Miz".
Grade 12 student's solo performance of "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"
in the second half of the play is CAPPIE worthy, as is the entire production.
her triumphant debut, Christine admits to best friend Meg that she has a mysterious
teacher who she refers to as an invisible "Angel of Music".
childhood friend named Raoul, recognizes Christine from the audience and meets
her afterwards in her dressing room. The two fall in love and become engaged,
which angers a jealous Phantom.
the second half of the play, the Phantom demands that the theatre owners produce
and opera which he has especially written for Christine.
the opening night, the Phantom kills the male lead and replaces him on stage.
As the opera draws to a close, Christine realizes she has been singing with the
Phantom and tears off his mask.
the chaos that follows, the Phantom grabs Christine and carries her off to the
catacombs below the theatre.
follows in hot pursuit, but is captured and Christine has to decide between staying
with the Phantom forever and allowing Raoul to go free or letting him die in exchange
for her own freedom.
Phantom is played by St. Peter Musical Theatre veteran Ryan Binsell, who played
Seymour in last year's production of "Little Shop of Horrors", while
Raoul is played by first-timer Christopher Baxter.
not easy performing in a musical with such gifted female co-stars, but Binsell
and Baxter do an excellent job. The two young men got better as the show went
on and their confidence grew with each song.
performance of "The Music of the Night" in Act 1 was exceptional, as
was his duet with Blouin in the second act.
duet with Blouin at the end of Act 1 entitled "All I Ask of You" was
also a highlight as was the ensemble number "Down Once More" which brought
the production to a triumphant close.
performances that stood out for me include Peter Shaw and Michael Moreau as Firmin
and André; Brandon Thomas as Piangi and Andrea Constantine as Meg Giry.
The remainder of the principle cast includes Claudia Carino as Madame Giry, Brandon
Carenas as Monsieur Reyer and Alex Pankerton as Monsieur Lefebrve.
chorus is made up of mostly Grade 10 students and includes Rebecca Atkinson, Ryan
Collins. Alyssa Milobar, Gregory Moreau, Jeremy Morganty, Brooke Morrice, Katie
Radway, Drew Plummer, Tori Simpson, Nicole Brake, Katelyn Boros, Meagan Schroeder,
Brandon Swann, Sierra Holder, Bridget Gilhooly, Emma Cowie, Lydia Brownrigg and
orchestra is led by Lisa McLean. Carla Janelle is the producer. And Monique Simonot
assisted Leger as the student director.
Phantom of the Opera" continues tonight and tomorrow night with performances
at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the door.
The St. Peter Musical Theatre Company is the first high school musical theatre
group to perform Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera in Canada.
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