Passion. Mystery. Betrayal. These are just a few words to describe the new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, running April 1-12 at The Wharton Center for Performing Arts in East Lansing. The story focuses on a mysterious Phantom who is haunting the Paris Opera house, wreaking havoc and inspiring terror in the performers. As the tale unfolds, the Phantom falls in love with a beautiful young soprano named Christine. Taking Christine under his wing, the Phantom trains her to be a star and quickly demands that she become the lead role of the show. But with the appearance of a new romantic interest, Raoul, the Phantom’s obsession with Christine intensifies and chaos ensues at the Opera House. As things come rapidly to a head, Christine is left to make a choice that will change everything. With style, incredible music and plenty of dramatic flair, Phantom will leave you holding your breath and begging for more. Jacquelynne Fontaine, who plays the part of Carlota (the prima donna), says this production of Phantom is amazing for so many reasons. “I love this show because it combines opera, acting and even ballet,” says Fontaine. “You see so many mediums come together and that’s originally what opera was all about. We have a few people in the cast that used to be dancers, some come from a theater background and some started out as musicians. It’s so neat to have that kind of union in different forms come together.” On playing Carlota, Fontaine says it’s one of the best things she’s ever done. “I play Carlota and she’s the Italian prima donna opera singer. It’s a really fun part; in my opinion, the only other part that’s better is the Phantom,” says Fontaine. “I get to wear these gorgeous, heavy costumes and sing this awesome credenza and (my character) throws these Italian diva fits. It’s a blast.” Phantom is known for having an amazing stage presence, but another part of the show is equally important: the production value. “This show is huge in so many ways,” says Fontaine. “That includes everything else that puts it together. More than 20 semi-trucks pull up wherever we’re performing, carrying the set, the props and the costumes. The production value is exquisite. Some of the costumes are insane; they’re so detailed and precise. It’s all so beautiful.” While Phantom has always been one of the most beloved and successful musicals of all-time, this new production of Phantom has been a massive hit with audiences around the world. “There really is something for everybody in the show,” says Fontaine. “Every night the audience is on its feet. You get that in musical theater and in opera, but to have three, four or sometimes five thousand people on their feet for any show is so exciting.” Phantom of the Opera will be featured at the Wharton Center Wednesday, April 1 through Sunday, April 12. The age recommendation is seven and up. Tickets for Phantom are available at whartoncenter.com.
Kalynne McIntyre is the Digital Branding Specialist at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. She loves action movies, puppies and all things Italian.