DUBAI: Dubbed the world’s most popular musical, “The Phantom of the Opera” has made its UAE debut at the Dubai Opera, but not before the cast and crew shared their take on the world-renowned play.
Brought to the region for the very first time by Broadway Entertainment Group, in partnership with Dubai Opera, the Andrew Lloyd Webber production will run until Nov. 9 and promises a spectacular visual and auditory experience for musical theater fans.
Based on French author Gaston Leroux’s classic novel, British composer Webber’s romantic musical is now in its 33rd year and is the longest-running show on Broadway. Worldwide, more than 140 million people have seen “The Phantom of the Opera” in 37 countries, 172 cities, and in 16 languages.
“For an evening out, for people that see musicals every day or for the first person that’s ever come to see a musical, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ has everything that you would want in a production,” Liz Koops, the chief executive officer of Broadway Entertainment Group, told Arab News.
The latest edition of the musical, which has cost more than $10 million (SR37.5 million), has “brand new physical production,” such as the chandelier and 380 costumes. The probes, sound, lights and costumes were all shipped from the US in 20 containers.
“If you were to see this show in New York city, Broadway or in the West End, when you walked into the theater it would look exactly like this,” the musical’s executive producer said.
The tour, which started in Manila, is expected to be on the road for at least 10 years. The orchestra has 10 UAE-based musicians who are part of the Dubai performance.
“With this orchestra, we are very grateful to have musicians who play it well but also play it with their hearts,” said David Rogers, the show’s music director and conductor. “The goal is not perfection by any means, the goal is music. The goal is art.
“It is very encouraging when at the end of the show … there are 50 or 100, 200 people that come down to the pit rail just to listen to the orchestra play all the famous melodies from the show one more time,” he added.
Claire Lyon, who portrays the female protagonist Christine Daaé, said stamina is the toughest part of her role. “It is very vocally demanding (and) physically demanding for all three of us. Having to pace yourself throughout the whole week and knowing when to rest, when to push yourself back and training yourself like an athlete (is a challenge),” she said.
Despite having performed as the Phantom dozens of times, Jonathan Roxmouth still discovers new aspects of his character.
“I still prepare for (this character). I don’t think you ever fully prepare for a role like ‘The Phantom of the Opera’… I am still finding things,” Roxmouth explained.
It takes the team more than an hour to get Roxmouth’s makeup ready for the musical. “There is no other show I would do this for… It is my dream role,” he said.
Matt Leisy, in his first tour, plays the role of Raoul De Chagny who falls in love with Christine. “It is such an honor to be the first actor to play this role for an audience (in the UAE).
“We all bring different essences and energies to these roles. So I like to think that mine is just a little different, and that helps tell the story,” he said.