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Reimagining Phantom for a modern audience

Production puts new spin on old favourite

ALASTAIR MUIR</p><p>Masquerade is performed during the latest touring production of The Phantom of the Opera, playing this week at the Centennial Concert Hall.</p>

ALASTAIR MUIR

Masquerade is performed during the latest touring production of The Phantom of the Opera, playing this week at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/8/2017 (725 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you go to see the touring production of The Phantom of the Opera, playing at the Centennial Concert Hall this week, consider yourself on notice — this is not the same show you’ve seen in past touring productions.

The music is the same. The Tony Award-winning costume design (by Maria Björnson) is the same.

But the production, now in its fourth year of touring, has undergone something of a reimagining, said associate director Seth Sklar-Heyn, giving credit to producer Cameron Mackintosh, who supervised the original production 30 years ago.

“After 25 years, no one’s reinterpreted it, so you have the luxury to allow the same source material to be put through a different lens,” Sklar-Heyn said.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/8/2017 (725 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you go to see the touring production of The Phantom of the Opera, playing at the Centennial Concert Hall this week, consider yourself on notice — this is not the same show you’ve seen in past touring productions.

The music is the same. The Tony Award-winning costume design (by Maria Björnson) is the same.

But the production, now in its fourth year of touring, has undergone something of a reimagining, said associate director Seth Sklar-Heyn, giving credit to producer Cameron Mackintosh, who supervised the original production 30 years ago.

"After 25 years, no one’s reinterpreted it, so you have the luxury to allow the same source material to be put through a different lens," Sklar-Heyn said.

The set is technically bigger and more complicated than past touring productions, yet looks more compact.

"It’s more focused," Sklar-Heyn said of the various locations connected to the Paris Opera House. "One of the big ideas was to create real naturalistic environments where we’re creating a close-up view of different areas within the theatre for the audience."

The character of the Phantom is likewise reflected through a different lens. In past productions, he has appeared as an almost supernatural figure.

"We wanted to (bring him) down to earth, creating a man, not a Svengali," Sklar-Heyn said. "He’s not a man who has an unexplained ability to control space and manipulate someone’s mind. We want to create a story here where we have a man who suffers, who was born with a deformity and his mind is special.

"But it’s not about him having special powers. In the original production, he does things that can’t be explained. Here, we grab onto aspects of the character as described in the script that he was an inventor, an engineer and he had an incredible mind and was able to construct things."

The cast and crew assembled for this touring production also allowed for a different take, he said.

"Except for two people, no one had worked on a production of Phantom before, so it brought a different energy," he said. "People weren’t holding onto previous ideas or interpretations of the material."

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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