Pre-ALW Phantom production in Albany, New York

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Pre-ALW Phantom production in Albany, New York

Post  Paula74 on Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:52 am

I touched on this in another thread...but this is interesting enough for its own thread.

I've been spending a lot of time going through local newspaper archives as part of a local history project I've been working and, while skimming through one particular paper from 1986, I saw the words "Phantom of the Opera" flash by.

It turns out there was an original production of Phantom here at Capital Repertory. I don't recall seeing or hearing anything about this...I didn't get acquainted with Cap Rep for another couple of years, though I've since seen some good plays there (including a darned good "Private Lives" and "The Sum of Us"). Cap Rep is a very nice little theatre that occupies the ground floor of a massive 1970s pigeon-hole parking garage. The space where the theatre is now actually was a little grocery store called the Grand Cash Market.

Naturally, I'm very intrigued. I'm definitely going to research this and see what I can find out from the theatre...though it'll probably be a month or two before I'll have time to follow up. But I'll post the articles I found for now.



Fred LeBrun, Executive arts editor
Date: Sunday, April 13, 1986

After 75 years or so, it's an idea whose time has come - repeatedly.

French journalist Gaston LeRoux's classic 1908 Gothic thriller, "Phantom of the Opera," has never been translated for the stage. Several movies, rather famous ones, have been made over the years, starring Lon Chaney, Claude Rains and Herbert Lom (in the Brian De Palma notorious failure of a rock version, "Phantom of the Paradise"). Two years ago Capital Repertory co-producer Peter Clough was fishing about for a classic horror story to stage as a follow to his controversial production of "Frankenstein." After deciding on "Phantom," he still had a deuce of a time even finding an English translation of the story, and he wasn't the only one looking. Apparently others in theater and in films were peering down the same foggy old streets.

Suddenly, it seems, the creative landscape is littered with Phantoms about to make an appearance on stage, screen and television. Several are headed for Broadway, including a musical version by Andrew Lloyd Webber ("Cats" and "Jesus Christ Superstar,"); Stephen Spielberg is directing yet another film version, Francis Coppola is supposedly looking at something as well and absurdist playwright Arthur Kopit is writing one, too.

But Capital Rep's will be the first.

A very original and musical "Phantom of the Opera," with book and lyrics by Kathleen Masterson and music by David Bishop premieres Saturday, as Capital Rep's last offering of the season, through May 18. It's a season destined to go out with a bang and a splash.

"I wasn't looking for a story with kitchen-sink realism," the tousle- haired director explained during a break in rehearsals. What he found in "Phantom of the Opera" are larger-than-life characters, unabashed romance, true melodrama, a tussle among psychological archetypes and, after collaborator/adapter Masterson was done, a new point of view.

The subtitle - "The Passage of Christine" - goes far to explain that point of view. In the novel, the story is focused on the phantom, Erik, with the lovely Christine his obsession-interest, a card-board character. In this version, the story is essentially told from Christine's point of view. It is her rite of passage.

That's the first of three pieces I found. I'll post the other two later.


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