- Phantom (musical)
Gaston Leroux's novel
The Phantom of the Opera"
Independent worldwide productions
"Phantom: The American Musical Sensation" is a musical with music and lyrics by
Maury Yestonand a book by Arthur Kopit. Based on Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel " The Phantom of the Opera", the musical was first presented in Houston, Texasin 1991, and it has received over 1,000 productions since.
Yeston and Kopit had just finished the musical "Nine", winner of the
Tony Awardfor "Best Musical" in 1982, when they were approached by actor/director Geoffrey Holderto write a musical based on Leroux's novel. Holder had obtained the rights to musicalize the novel in America from the Leroux estate, making "Phantom" the first and only "Phantom of the Opera" musical to do so. Holder planned to direct. Initially, Yeston was skeptical of the project. "I laughed and laughed.... That's the worst idea in the world! Why would you want to write a musical based on a horror story?.... And then it occurred to me that the story could be somewhat changed.... [The Phantom] would be a Quasimodo character, an Elephant Man. Don't all of us feel, despite outward imperfections, that deep inside we're good? And that is a character you cry for."Vitaris, Paul. "The Unsinkable Maury Yeston." "Show Music The Musical Theatre Magazine" Spring, 1997: 17-23]
1984, British producer Ken Hillproduced a melodramamusical of "The Phantom of the Opera" in England. This was not a big threat to Holder, Kopit and Yeston, since their musical was intended to play on Broadway. The real threat emerged through an announcement in "Variety", where an article was published concerning plans for a musical production of "The Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The rights to the novel were in the public domain in Great Britain. Holder only held the rights for two years in the United States and Europebefore the property became public domain there as well. Yeston had completed much of the score to "Phantom", and Yeston, Kopit and Holder were in the process of raising money for a Broadway production when the Lloyd Webber plans were announced. [http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/yeston-maury-biography Kalfatovic, Mary. "Maury Yeston", "Contemporary Musicians" (ed. Luann Brennan). Vol. 22, Gale Group, Inc., 1998] ]
After "The Phantom of the Opera" became a smash hit in London in 1986, Lloyd Webber announced a Broadway production, and Yeston's Broadway investors backed out. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E03E0D9123EF93AA25756C0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all Pogrebin, Robin. "A Song in His Psyche, As Hummable as Fame" "New York Times", May 19, 2003] ] Yeston, Kopit and Holder reluctantly shelved their plans for "Phantom" and went their separate ways for a time. When Kopit saw the Lloyd Webber version of "The Phantom of the Opera" in
New York, he realized that the approach he and Yeston had taken was fundamentally different and that it could still work on the musical stage. A few years later, he rewrote his script outline into a teleplay for a 4-hour 2-part miniseries and sold it to NBC, with Yeston's blessing. It was filmed at the " Opera Garnier", and the only music used was opera music. It starred Charles Dance, Teri Poloand Burt Lancasterand premiered on television in 1990. Kopit said, "I told Maury to hold on. There were "Phantom" musicals sprouting up all over the place by that time. Maybe someone would see the miniseries, think it would make a good musical and we'd be ready."Fact|date=December 2007
The Yeston/Kopit musical was finally produced by Theater Under the Stars in 1991, and "Phantom" has since received over 1,000 productions around the world. Yeston refers to the musical as "the greatest hit never to be produced on Broadway." Yeston's "Phantom" is more "operetta"-like in style than Lloyd Webber's, seeking to reflect the 1890s period, and seeks to project a French atmosphere to reflect its Parisian setting.
;Original productionIn January
1991, Houston Texas’s Theater Under the Stars presented the world premiere of the Yeston/Kopit musical, renamed simply "Phantom" to separate it further from Lloyd Weber's and other productions of "Phantom of the Opera". Richard White starred in the title role. Members of the Houston cast recorded a cast albumreleased by RCA records.
;Early regional U.S. productionsThat summer, Yeston and Kopit made a few cuts and changes to the musical. In the fall, the revised version was presented in
Seattleand at the California Theatre of Performing Arts in San Bernardino in California and was received warmly. In Chicago, Bill Pullinsi, Artistic Director of the Candlelight Playhouse staged the production, receiving rave reviews in publications including "Variety" and the " Wall Street Journal". This led to other editions in other cities, including 1992productions at " Casa Mañana" in Ft. Worth, Texas, Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach, and at the WestchesterBroadway Theatre in New York State, starring Robert Cuccioliin the title role; [ [http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=23743 Information from Broadway World.com] ] and a 1993production at " Music Theater of Wichita".
;International productionsAn Estonian-language version of "Phantom" was performed from November 15 to December 1, 2007 at the Linnahall in
Tallinn. The phantom was Estonian rap star Chalice, and Christine was Estonian singer Hanna-Liina Võsa. Estonian crooner Tõnis Mägi played Gerard Carriere, and Estonian pop star Mikk Saar played Baron de Chandon. This "Phantom" was directed by Liis Kolle and produced by Mikk Purre. [ [http://fantoom.muusikal.ee/index.php Estonian production of "Fantoom"] ]
"Phantom" has been performed in Japanese translation by the Cosmos Troupe of
Takarazuka Revuein 2004 (featuring Yoka Waoand Mari Hanafusa) and in 2006 by Flower Troupe (featuring Sumire Harunoand Ayane Sakuranoin her Grand Theater debut).Fact|date=December 2007
A German-language version ran for three years in Germany.
;2007-2008 Westchester revivalsIn October through November 2007, the show played at the Westchester Broadway Theater, in
Elmsford, New York, [ [http://www.broadwaytheatre.com/ Article on the 2007 Westchester revival] ] and is playing again from December 27, 2007 to February 9, 2008 featuring Robert Cucciolireprising the title role. [ [http://www.broadwaytheatre.com/show_pgs/phantom.htm Article on 2007-2008 Westchester run] ]
The story begins at the time of the first meeting of Erik (the Phantom) and a street singer named Christine. Erik was born and raised in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House and needs beautiful music – he cannot exist without it. He accepts Christine as his pupil, training her for the opera, but forbids her to see his face. Complications arise when Gérard Carrière loses his position as head of the Opera house and therefore cannot protect Erik any longer. Furthermore, Carlotta, the new diva and owner of the Opera, has such a terrible voice that the Phantom is in torment. His salvation must eventually come through Christine, whose voice is so beautiful that he falls in love with her. Later, it is revealed that Carrière, the previous owner of the Opera house, is actually Erik's father. Erik fears that he will be captured and treated a like circus freak because of his horrendous face (which is never seen). The police surround him and the chief of police tells his men not to shoot because they "can take him alive!" Erik shouts out to his father for help. Carrière understands; he grabs a policeman's gun and aims at his son. After a struggle with himself, he fires, and the Phantom falls, calling out Christine's name.
*Melodie de Paris
*Paris Is a Tomb
*Dressing For The Night
*Where In The World
*This Place Is Mine
*The Music Lessons/Phantom Fugue
*You Are Music
*The Bistro: Sing, Can You Sing?/Paris Is A Lark/Melodie de Paris
*Who Could Ever Have Dreamed Up You?
*Dressing For The Night (Reprise)
*This Place Is Mine (Reprise)
*Where In The World (Reprise);Act II
*Without Your Music
*Where In The World (Reprise 2)
*The Story of Erik
*My True Love
*My Mother Bore Me
*You Are My Own
*Finale: You Are Music (Reprise)
The Phantom of the Opera (1990 miniseries)"
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