Jul 10, 2013

    Audience will live and breathe Phantom

    Andrew Lloyd Webber’s critically-acclaimed masterpiece, The Phantom Of The Opera, is returning to Singapore this month.

    Brad Little, 49, who plays the Phantom, has given over 2,250 performances in the titular role, while his leading lady, Claire Lyon, 26 – who plays Christine Daae – is one of the few actresses to have been involved in both The Phantom Of The Opera and its sequel, Love Never Dies.

    My Paper speaks with them about taking on the roles.

    Brad, you have played this role over 2,000 times. Do you feel like the Phantom has become a part of you?

    Little: It’s been a part of my life for almost 20 years. And I’m very proud and lucky to say that it has.

    Am I the Phantom?

    No. It’s a job and it’s not like I’ve been playing him constantly. I’ve had breaks, sometimes (for) three years.

    I have been able to do it for so long because it’s, in my opinion, the best musical-theatre character ever written.

    What do you think of the movie production of Phantom?

    Little: I think one of the things that the movie lacked was the suspense. It took out all the drama.

    An example would be when Raoul and Christine sing All I Ask Of You. At the end, you should realise suddenly that – oh my god – the Phantom has been listening the whole time.

    This happens in the stage production, but not in the movie.

    They kept showing the Phantom during the song in the movie.

    Phantom has been done so many times. How are you going to put your own spin on the characters?

    Little: This is Claire and Brad’s show, and we have a fanbase that loves what we do as a team. That includes the character Raoul.

    There will be a very different energy from what it was that (the audience) saw before, because we are different actors.

    Lyon: And there’s a different energy every night too. That’s the beauty of live theatre.

    We feel differently as Claire and Brad depending on what’s happening in our personal lives, and then we show that through our characters as well. One day might be more emotional than the next. That’s why people keep coming back.

    What would you tell first-timers watching the show?

    Lyon: Be prepared to be wowed, because it is not a show that you go into the theatre to just watch.

    It is all-encompassing. It’s the whole experience of Phantom.
    The smoke on the stage will come out. You’ll smell it, you’ll live it and you’ll breathe it.

    You’ll feel what we’re feeling on stage. The costumes, the sets – it’s just a spectacle.

    Any pre-performance rituals?

    Lyon: I do a ballet class, to warm up physically, and a vocal warm-up. And do our make-up.

    Did you feel that Christine should have chosen the Phantom instead of Raoul?

    Little: The way it was written was a bit manipulative.

    This is the thing about musicals. You don't get both sides of the story, you get the one side that is used to manipulate the audience into feeling. And this particular one is called Phantom Of The Opera.


    The Phantom Of The Opera will be showing at MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands from Tuesday till Aug 25. Tickets are priced from $55 and are available at Sistic (