Phantom Down Under - Australian Production and Actors Thread

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Phantom Down Under - Australian Production and Actors Thread

Post  Madame Giry on Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:01 am

It seemed a bit odd to me that we don't have a dedicated thread for Phantom in Australia, considering it's had a couple major runs and has included some very famous musical theatre actors and actresses. Performers like Anthony Warlow, Rob Guest, Marina Prior, to name a few.

I'm going to let those of us who have a little more grounding in the Australian production discuss it at length, but for starters I'm going to focus a bit on one of the lesser-known Phantoms from Australia; Canadian-born, tall-as-a-tree baritone Donald Cant. Donald understudied for Rob Guest and also took over as the principal Phantom for a total of about 500 performances in the role back in the early to mid 90's.

While Donald might not immediately ring any bells, if you've ever watched the Australian Phantom Easter Charity concerts, you've seen him as the tallest of the three Phantoms in the Phantales number, 'Three Little Spooks' (a hilarious parody on 'Three Little Maids' from The Mikado): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whQahDViKIQ

He also appears in the Chopper Opera charity concert, which was performed by the combined casts of Miss Saigon and Phantom.

Unfortunately there seems to be very little in the way of photos or promotional video footage of Donald actually performing as the Phantom floating around. However, I recently purchased his album, Passionate, via Amazon Marketplace. It's an excellent album overall with some selections from Phantom that aren't usually recorded on solo albums and I highly recommend it.

I've uploaded the full track for Music of the Night on my Tumblr account, along with a link to Amazon where you can purchase the CD used, or MP3 tracks: http://madamecuratrix.tumblr.com/post/37951468445/music-of-the-night-donald-cant-from-his-album

Anyhow, hope this thread gets some more contributions. Phantom in Australia has a long and distinguished history which deserves some highlighting. Smile

~Madame~

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Re: Phantom Down Under - Australian Production and Actors Thread

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:20 pm

I'd heard of him, but I think that's the first I'd heard of his voice. He's got a nice timbre, reminiscent of a cross between Steve Barton, Rob Guest, and Mark McKerracher.

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Re: Phantom Down Under - Australian Production and Actors Thread

Post  operafantomet on Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:09 pm

Speaking of Australia... Renée Knapp was the original Hamburg alternate and became principal there in 1992. But she also had a tiny Australian Phantom run.

In 1991 he was asked to fly to Melbourne on a short notice, to be principal Christine there for a couple of performances. Reason was that principal Marina Prior was on her honeymoon, the alternate Maree Johnson had broken her ankle, and all performances had to be done by the understudy Carolyn Ferrie. Since Hal Prince was very happy with Renée Knapp, he asked her to fill in, and she hopped on the first plane to Australia, rehearsed the role in English during the flight, and stunt performed 72 hours after she was first asked.

She did so well they kept her there for a couple of months, from September 18, 1991.

What I wonder is why it's so little documented. I have heard no sound clips and seen no photos from her Australian run. She wasn't there all that long, but I'm still kinda surprised it went so undocumented. Also, she played opposite ANTHONY WARLOW. Surely there must be some tiny photo somewhere? I've found an article describing it, but it's done by a US newspaper interviewing her parents. Not exactly first hand source, and only an archival head shot of Renée in it...

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