Ask Sandra Joseph

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Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  operafantomet on Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:59 am

We have the honour of welcoming Sandra Joseph to Deserted Phans! She has agreed to answer questions people might have about being a performer, about her experiences with/in "The Phantom of the Opera", about her current career and upcoming book and whatever you guys might wonder about. For example, did you know she also was Christine in the Yeston/Kopit version?

For obvious reasons not all questions can be answered: secrets of POTO, personal life of co-players, ALW/RUG related stuff etc. Although you are free to ask, you might not ret a reply. Just so that is stated in advance.

That said, fire away and ask Sandra!


Last edited by operafantomet on Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Editing the title, to include full name)

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  operafantomet on Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:50 am

Costume nerd needs to know...

What was your favourite Christine costume, and why? And how many costumes did you wear out during your run on Broadway?

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:04 pm

Hi, there! Thanks for the warm welcome. And thanks to Stephanie (my website goddess, along with Amy at www.sandrajoseph.com) for letting me know about this cool hang out. I'm excited to get to know you all and to play on your playground. LOVE the look of this site!

To your costume question, operafantomet, first let me tell you my LEAST favorite thing to wear: the very first one--that horrifying Hannibal bustier thing. Okay, the costume itself is beautiful, but standing onstage next to teeny tiny ballerinas when you are a curvy girl in what essentially amounts to a velvet bathing suit with strings hanging off of the bottom=no fun. I frequently felt like this: :elephant: Once I got to put the big "Think of Me" skirt on over it, I felt less naked and therefore more confident. The helpful thing about making my first entrance in that revealing velvet bathing suit was that Christine is supposed to be nervous and distracted in that scene. I was already in a genuinely insecure emotional state every time I walked onstage. The audience didn't need to know it was because my hips were twice the size of every Meg that ever sat beside me! (To be clear, I'm not saying I was a big ol' porker pig but I'm 5' 3" and ethnic (Lebanese) and if you've ever stood next to a perfectly toned, straight up-and-down dancer, you know what I mean. 'Nuff said.)

My FAVE costume was probably the Don Juan dress for a number of reasons. It was the most flattering dress for my figure; made my pear-shape look more hourglass. It was COMFORTABLE, though I let them nip in the waist until I could barely breathe. (They put several waist hooks inside, by the way, so it could be loosened or tightened depending on what time of the month it was, or how much I'd eaten for dinner!) But I think the main reason it was my favorite dress was because putting it on meant I was in the home stretch. "Wishing" was over...whew! That song always left me feeling like a wrung-out wash cloth (my book will give you the inside scoop on the real reason why). Don Juan was a fun, sexy scene to play, and there was only one more costume change. I think I loved the dress as much for its beauty as for what it symbolized: I'd crested the mountain. It was all downhill after that.

I wore the same velvet bathing suit ALL ELEVEN YEARS that I was in the show! Shocking that it never wore out, right? Other than that, they built me all new costumes for the record-breaking performance in 2006. I think I got a new blue dress (another of my faves) and Masquerade dress somewhere in there, too. But the costumes were so well constructed that it took a long time for the wear and tear to show.

I've seen some pics of the costumes you've made and I am BLOWN AWAY by your talent! WOW! Incredible likeness to the originals. Go, girl!

Again, thanks for welcoming me here. I'm looking forward to answering more of your questions. Keep 'em coming!

Sandra

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  ML6 on Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:33 pm

Hey Sandra! (Wow, this is SO EXCITING that we have people involved with the show on here.)

My question for you is this: Sometimes in dressing rooms, people leave their mark after they have left a show. (Letter to the new lead, a picture, little things...) I was wondering if anybody has done such a thing for you when you played Christine in Phantom?

Sorry if it was a silly question - or if its too personal. Embarassed

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Wow, you're certainly being very open and honest, which is awesome. Great to have you on the site.

The only question I have right now is probably one you won't answer: Other than your husband, who was your favorite Phantom to perform opposite (that can include understudies)? Same for Raoul.

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  ladygodiva on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:53 pm

Sandra, I never got to see you live as Christine, but I saw you on Oprah a few years back, and you were wonderful and warm,

Question: did you ever get to take any costume or head piece home with you.?

Question: What is the hardest number for you to sing as Christine, ?

If you could have Christine stay with the Phantom, would you.?

Most actors and actresses would invariable get compared to the original or the predecessor, do people come up to you and compare you, if so how do you handle it.?

Who was the better kisser Raoul or the Phantom, if you could answer

Also did you dance on pointe or demi pointe?

one more thing did you have to get Plastered for you likenss, for the Christine mannequin that the Phantom throws around?

P.S. thank you for taking time out for us, you seem like a cool Christine. and I think that a lot of us would kill to have your figure,


Last edited by ladygodiva on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:42 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : added more ?????)

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:29 am

Gonna try to hit all of these at once.

ML6, there are no silly questions! I don't recall ever receiving anything in a dressing room, but when I was first cast as Christine I received a congratulatory letter in the mail from Rick Hilsabeck who was to be my Phantom. I was deeply touched by the gracious gesture. So when it was my turn to welcome a new Phantom (on the tour) I was mindful to write a similar letter to Ron Bohmer. He apparently appreciated it a lot. He's now my husband of eight years. Smile

Senor Swanky, picking favorites can lead to hurt feelings. I will say that it's always fun to perform with your friends. Hugh Panaro is hilarious and great fun to be around. John Cudia is very dear to me. Thomas James O'Leary was my first Broadway Phantom and he treated me like a peer from day one. Howard McGillan is a lovely human being-warm, real, generous. Rick Hilsabeck, my first Phantom on the road is a gentlemen's gentleman. So, there ya go--no faves but some highlights. And even as I type, I'm certain I'm forgetting someone fabulous.

Ladygodiva, I have a C.D. wig currently hanging out in my bedroom closet. I have lots of old pairs of tights, some ballet slippers, and a pair of Masquerade boots. That's it. Always wanted that gorgeous white robe, but they don't part with the pricey stuff. Smile

Hardest number varied from night to night. Many Christine's commiserate over our shared dread of the pianissimo A-flat: "soar." That's a tricky one technique-wise. The passing tones could trip you up pitcwise. A former Christine used to parody the little bit we sing in the boat, "I remember there was mist...swirling mist upon a vast, glassy lake..." I loved her for making fun of herself about it. She sang "I remember there was pitch...many pitches but I can't remember which."

I've never given much thought to having CD stay with the Phantom. As an actress, my job was just to play what was written. So, I'm copping out on answering that one.

People would sometimes say pretty hilarious and awful things. The joke was "I've seen ten Christine's and you're one of 'em." I don't think anyone ever said those exact words, but yes, comparisons are inevitable. You do your best, hope that people like it, and try to get your ego out of the way as much as humanly possible. That' all you can do.

DEFINITELY better to kiss Raoul, no matter who the actors are playing R and P! Remember, when you kiss the Phantom, half of his lip is covered in a fake prosthetic piece. He's always sweaty by then, and his face is covered in KY jelly. It's a VERY moving moment. I LOVED playing it, but if we're talking enjoyable lip-on-lip action, Raouls win every time!

I TRIED to dance en pointe. When I was the mirror bride and CD understudy, I did a ballet barre every night with the dancers. They were so sweet and encouraging, all pitching in to help teach me. I was DETERMINED to get up on my toes. But some things in life are just not meant to be. I was blessed with the most horrific feet imaginable, big ol' painful bunions and all. I actually missed a couple of shows because I was limping from the ballet training. I had to give up and surrender to demi-pointe. It killed me because I SO wanted CD to look authentically like a ballerina. Ah well...can't have everything.

No plaster thingy. They did that in the early years, then I guess they decided it was too expensive or just too much trouble. Somewhere along the line they chose a look for her--one generic CD face fits all!

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:44 am

Hi Sandra!

Welcome to the board! I had the pleasure of seeing you many times as Christine over the years starting in Denver in 1997 through 2005 in NY. I enjoyed your performances immensely! No questions for you--just wanted to say hi! Smile Take care!


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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:51 am

Thanks so much, phantomfett! Hard to believe I was there for so many years! So cool you were there at the very beginning and after I'd stayed too long at the phair!

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:07 am

Smile

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  LadyCDaae on Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:26 am

Hiya, Sandra! Thanks for hanging out with us!

As has already been noted, you've played the role of Christine over the course of several years with several different co-stars and in two separate interpretations of the story. How did those external factors (time in role, actors you played against, Kopit/Yeston vs. ALW) affect the way you approached the character, if at all? Also, any fun "onstage mishap" anecdotes you're willing/able to share?

~LCD

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Re: Ask Sandra

Post  vmkwinner on Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:45 am

Hi Sandra! Welcome to DesertedPhans! Uhm,(lol, gotta think of some questions) Do you have any bloopers or funny moments to share? And uhm, how hard is it to wear the costumes? Oh! Also: is the think of me skirt heavy? Does it have a crinoline under it or some kind of support?
Thanks!
-Ken

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SenorSwanky on Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:16 am

SandraJoseph wrote:Senor Swanky, picking favorites can lead to hurt feelings.
Yeah, that's why I didn't think you'd even attempt to answer. BTW, I saw you as Christine from the third row, orchestra left, on 10/21/05, which was my first and so far only time seeing the show on Broadway. I really liked your performance, though I think by the time my friends and I had walked to the stage door, you had already left. Got to meet David Gaschen and Stephen Buntrock, who had been the Phantom that night, though.

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  operafantomet on Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:51 am

SandraJoseph wrote:
My FAVE costume was probably the Don Juan dress for a number of reasons. It was the most flattering dress for my figure; made my pear-shape look more hourglass. It was COMFORTABLE, though I let them nip in the waist until I could barely breathe. (They put several waist hooks inside, by the way, so it could be loosened or tightened depending on what time of the month it was, or how much I'd eaten for dinner!) But I think the main reason it was my favorite dress was because putting it on meant I was in the home stretch. "Wishing" was over...whew! That song always left me feeling like a wrung-out wash cloth (my book will give you the inside scoop on the real reason why). Don Juan was a fun, sexy scene to play, and there was only one more costume change. I think I loved the dress as much for its beauty as for what it symbolized: I'd crested the mountain. It was all downhill after that.
Oooh, I love that. That pink, frilly frock is one cool garb, and probably my personal favourite, but I don't think any Christines has ever named it as their favourite before. Your explanations makes a lot of sense; PONR must have been a relief, almost, after the mountain of feelings in the graveyard scene.

The Hannibal costume thing made me laugh, sorry... It's just that in general I'm a giant next to most chicks, I so understand what you mean. When my friend Josefine celebrated her 100th show in Copenhagen, we did a costume gig and took various fun pictures. I think I've never felt bigger than when they lined us up for a photo! Laughing So I can totally relate to how you felt next to those tiny ballerinas, show after show, in the skimpiest costume ever...


I'm really glad Stephanie got you to join here. You'll probably be flooded with questions, but in general we're a nice bunch. Most of us have a genuine love for Phantom, and hearing experiences and thoughts from someone who's become a big part of Phantom history is nothing more than awesome.

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Paula74 on Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:26 pm

I'll definitely second the question about any funny bloopers! I've heard plenty from Hugh, including one about his rubbery lip prosthetic sticking to the lips of a Christine after the Final Lair kiss...did that one ever happen to you?

Also, I was lucky enough to attend the amazing record-breaking performance in January, 2006. It was such a wonderful experience to be in that audience...what was in like taking part in such an event as a performer?

And I'm going to join everyone else who has said welcome and thank you so much for joining. I've been enjoying your answers here and always love reading your site, blog, etc..

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Raphael on Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:14 pm

operafantomet wrote:So I can totally relate to how you felt next to those tiny ballerinas, show after show, in the skimpiest costume ever...
I reiterate that the Hannibal Slave Girl costume is the Slave Leia Metal Bikini of the Phantom world (THANK YOU, Maria Björnson!)

I also extend a warm welcome to you, Sandra. Like Anéa (operafantomet) said, we're a pretty nice, respectful bunch, so I hope you enjoy your time here Smile

No questions, Your Honor...

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  starryeyed on Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:21 pm

Hi Sandra, so cool you're hanging out over here, I just have one question. Did you ever see the show before you were a part of it or did you just "research" the role when you get the part and also (oh I lied there's 2 questions) what inspired you during your performances as Christine?

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Phantomlove on Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:49 am

Hi Sandra, a big welcome from me too. Do you ever go and see Phantom these days? I know someone who used to be a lighting tech in the Stockholm production of Phantom. His wife was one of the ballerinas. Once he told me that his wife had been in London (this was many years after Phantom closed in Stockholm) and which show had she seen when she was there? Phantom of course. So I'm kinda curious if you go and see it every now and then and, if so, what is it like to see it now?

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  sk8phan on Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:26 pm

Hi Sandra! This is so cool! My inner phan is phreaking out right now as I'm sure most people on here are too.
My questions: Have you seen any of the movie adaptations of Phantom (silent movie, 1990 miniseries, etc.) and if so what do you think about the different adaptations?
Also did you see the 2004 movie musical and what did you think about that? Do you think it came out at the right time or should they have waited?

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  IamErik771 on Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:03 pm

Welcome, Sandra! Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

You've played Christine in many performances over the years... How did you keep your portrayal fresh each time? Also, what differences did you find between playing the role on Broadway and in the touring production?

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:31 am

I didn't get to all of them but here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwLcN94UUq4

I'll answer the others asap, I promise!

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:55 am

How do I get my picture in the little box?

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  ML6 on Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:04 am

SandraJoseph wrote:How do I get my picture in the little boxG?

Hey Sandra, go to the top of the page and you'll see a toolbar beneath the banner and you click 'profile'. That's where you can edit your profile. You'll see 'avatar', click it, and then you can change it. Smile

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:00 am

ML6 wrote:
SandraJoseph wrote:How do I get my picture in the little boxG?

Hey Sandra, go to the top of the page and you'll see a toolbar beneath the banner and you click 'profile'. That's where you can edit your profile. You'll see 'avatar', click it, and then you can change it. Smile

Aha! THANK YOU!

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Mme Reyer on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:15 am

Hi Sandra!

I was in the audience on October 1, 2005 when you played Christine opposite Hugh Panaro at his last show. It was the most amazing performance I've ever seen or have since seen. The raw emotion was amazing. It's still the performance that I judge all others upon.

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:23 am

Mme Reyer wrote:Hi Sandra!

I was in the audience on October 1, 2005 when you played Christine opposite Hugh Panaro at his last show. It was the most amazing performance I've ever seen or have since seen. The raw emotion was amazing. It's still the performance that I judge all others upon.

Mme Reyer

Thank you. I was a WRECK through that entire show. I heart Hughy. Was so sad to see him go. That was the first time I kissed the ring before giving it back. He and I were both boo-hooing. And I could FEEL the audience right there with us. So cool to know you were there.

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:42 am

SandraJoseph wrote:I didn't get to all of them but here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwLcN94UUq4

I'll answer the others asap, I promise!

Sandra,

That....was....AWESOME!!!! Smile

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  Phantom on a Budget on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:44 am

Sandra,
Thank you so much for coming to the forums and taking the time to answer questions. I was also there for Hugh's last show in Oct 2005, and I was absolutely stricken with the emotion on stage that evening. I knew it was his last show going in, and it really seemed like there was something special in your performance that evening. Congratulations on a wonderful career thus far, and all the best to you in the future. Smile

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:47 am

phantomfett wrote:
SandraJoseph wrote:I didn't get to all of them but here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwLcN94UUq4

I'll answer the others asap, I promise!

Sandra,

That....was....AWESOME!!!! Smile

YAY! So glad you enjoyed!

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

Post  SandraJoseph on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:48 am

Phantom on a Budget wrote:Sandra,
Thank you so much for coming to the forums and taking the time to answer questions. I was also there for Hugh's last show in Oct 2005, and I was absolutely stricken with the emotion on stage that evening. I knew it was his last show going in, and it really seemed like there was something special in your performance that evening. Congratulations on a wonderful career thus far, and all the best to you in the future. Smile

Thank YOU! Your words made me tear up, which you're used to seeing me do, apparently. SO COOL that you were there on that super special night.

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Re: Ask Sandra Joseph

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