Off The Cuff With the Phantom Of The Opera Cast
Based on the classic novel Le Fantome de L’Opera by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of The Opera tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as of the Phantom who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House.
Mesmerised by the talent and beauty of a young soprano, Christine, the Phantom lures her as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul, the Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealousy, madness and passions collide.
Currently, Phantom of The Opera is on tour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Here they share what it’s like to be a part of the longest-running musical production.
GETTING TO KNOW CHRISTINE, RAOUL AND PHANTOM
A quick introduction – Jonathan Roxmouth plays the Phantom, Meghan Picerno plays Christine Daae while Matt Leisy plays Raoul.
Meghan felt proud to have two strong leading men to share the stage with. “I’m from the opera world who has been living in the music theatre world so I’m a crossover artist.
“I can say that I really learned a lot actually from my colleagues in the music theatre world because particularly there’s this attitude of can do and will do no matter what.
“That flexibility and hard work ethic, the willingness to jump in is so incredible and inspiring for me and it did really give me the strength to be on stage with my leading men.
“I mean as you know this is an epic iconic show and for this role of Christine Daiei I have to make myself available an I can only do that emotionally if I have people on stage I could trust and, and I can.
“I literally have to give my power up to both of them at some point on stage and take it back. Both of them allow me to do that… plus they’re pretty good to look at! (laughs),” she said.
The cast described that to be given the chance of playing such iconic roles for an iconic show is an incredible honour for them. Talking about their characters, Matt pictured Raoul as someone who has been handed a good deck of cards in life.
“He is this privileged guy, but then he’s been given a challenge in the form of Christine. I think he really gets to grow over the course of the show.
“He becomes a lot less selfish when he falls in love for the first time. I think his journey from beginning to the end – it’s like he went from being a Playboy to becoming a hero,” he said.
Meanwhile, Meghan said that Christine Daiei is so ingrained into so many of our different societies across the world.
“Particularly in this time where we are at as women, I think that it’s really important to realise that you see this girl become a woman through the course of the show.
“We do have to remember that Christine Daiei didn’t have the same freedoms and rights that I, Meghan Picerno have in 2019.
“I do try my best to empower her as much as possible and the way that I see it is that she does willingly give her power up to the men at the beginning. I think that that you see her go through these challenges that are larger than life yet at the same time I as Megan understand kind of all of those things.”
Jonathan, on the other hand, said that playing Phantom was as good as it’s going to get for him as an actor in the musical world.
“Any actor who has previously played this role will tell you straight that playing the Phantom is the most challenging most rewarding most exhausting, most heartbreaking, most everything basically.
“Like most addictions – there’s that urge to do it again and again, which is the kind of definition of insanity,” he said.
“The role is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” he said.
The idea of putting up a spectacular show every night can be daunting for normal people, but for talents in the musical and opera world, it’s something that they have perfected.
Granted, the energy for the opening night would be outstanding, but to maintain that solid presence on stage for the rest of the musical period requires one to be physically and mentally strong.
As for the trio, they constantly give their all to the audience bearing in mind that it could be someone’s very first Phantom Of The Opera experience, and they wouldn’t want it to be a letdown.
“You never know who you are inspiring to be part of the next generation of Phantom Of The Opera.
“The young audience who will be there in the audience could want to know how you do it.
“I think it’s being a role model to the people out there, you’re communicating through this story that has been told throughout the entire world for 30 years,” said Meghan.
“Opening night is definitely extra exciting but once you’re doing it 7 days a week, it can get tiring but you push yourself to bring that same level of commitment.
“You never know what it might be someone’s first and only time seeing the show. The audience on Tuesday for example, deserves the same amount of 100% of your performance just as much as the audience on a Saturday does,” said Meghan.
“It is my job to feel the heartbreak and betrayal through this story, and that I perform it right every night because again, you never know that might be the only time someone sees it.
“We often get direct messages from fans saying how much they are still reeling from the show which they watched the week before.
BACKSTAGE IS A SHOW ON ITS OWN
The trio all agreed that the backstage situation is a show on its own.
“If anything, I wish people could watch how things work backstage because it is literally a whole different world back there,” said Matt.
Almost every dress change will stretch up to only 20 seconds at most, and then off the actors go on stage once more.
“It’s crazy, but it’s also amazing. I wish you could sell tickets to the backstage because that to me is more theatrically magical,” said Jonathan.
Backstage, everyone is well connected and communicated with each other to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Realistically, there will be slip-ups but of course, the audience doesn’t have to know that, said Meghan.
Every single person in the theatre plays an important role (whether big or small) to ensure the show runs smoothly, concluded the trio.
“It just brings me so much joy to know that this brings everyone together,” said Meghan.
(Photos courtesy of Base Entertainment)