Operafantomet: phantoming

Musical productions I’d love to see in the months to come:

July 17/August 28: The Little Mermaid (Copenhagen/Fredricia)
August 14: Beauty and the Beast (Oslo) 
August 21: Fiddler on the Roof (Oslo) 
September 18: Beauty and the Beast (Copenhagen) 
September 18: Billy Elliot (Oslo) 
September 27: Evita (Stockholm) 
September 27: Addams Family (Malmö) 
October 4: Beauty and the Beast (Säffle) 
October 25: Kristina från Duvemåla (Gothenburg) 
November 11: Tell Me On A Sunday (Copenhagen) 
January 22: Billy Elliot (Copenhagen) 
January 23: Chicago (Oslo) 
February 6: The Last 5 Years (Copenhagen) 

…it’ll be one expensive autumn!!! At the very top of my list is Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Beauty and the Beast in Copenhagen, Beauty and the Beast in Oslo and Kristina in Gothenburg. 

(also, BATB seems to be the big hit in Scandinavia this autumn, after a year or two dominated by Evita and Les Miserables)  

Mia Karlsson as Belle, Kristian Boland as Beast. From Det Ny Teater’s “Beauty and the Beast”, Copenhagen 2005

Mia Karlsson as Belle, Kristian Boland as Beast. 

From Det Ny Teater’s “Beauty and the Beast”, Copenhagen 2005


but what if after his much-too-brief stint at Les Miz, Earl came across the street to play The Phantom

Hi! I recently discovered your Phantom costume replicas, and they're amazing! I'm currently trying to make my own Aminta costume. The bodice has been giving me lots of grief, so if you don't mind, do you mind explaining how you made yours? Thanks so much in advance!

My immediate thought is to jump up and down with excitement and be ready to share a lot of advices and tips. But at this point I’m kinda tired of it. Why? Because I’ve had probably 12 people asking me about tips, patterns, fabrics and whatnot in the past two years. I’ve done my very best to help, tracking down the original fabrics I used, drafting a pattern of the bodice, sharing helpful tips and reference photos - really, going all the way to help. And I have yet to see anyone actually make their own replica. So I feel I’ve put in a lot of hours for nothing. 

Dear anon, this has nothing to do with you. I’m just a bit disillusioned about this right now. I don’t think I have more to add than what’s written in my costume web site: 


The pieces used for the bodice is depicted flat there, and I’ve tried to describe it as detailed as I can. I HOPE that’ll be of help to you, and I hope to one day see your replica. Also, feel free to ask if you need specific reference photos! 

(also, thank you for your very nice words)

Random question, but is it me, or is the collar bead design in the Aminta dress similar to the bead pattern for the blue dress in LND?

If you go by the Australian design for POTO, there’s definitely similarities in both neckline fringe and in the styling of the wig: 

But if going by say the West End design, then I see no similarities whatsoever (here with no other than Anna O’Byrne in both costumes): 

So I guess there’s not really too big similarities in the design. But since much of the Australian “Love Never Dies” costumes were made in the same workshop as the Australian/World Tour POTO ones, I’m guessing a couple of the same ideas and techniques were bound to show up in both shows’ costumes. 

What do you think of Melinda Prince? And do you have any photos of her onstage? She was just an understudy (I mean as long as i remember) so it's harder to find anything of her but I think she's got a pretty voice for Christine

More understudy love! I saw an audio of her singing the title song popped up the other day. I didn’t get around to listen to it, but I saw it got favourable comments. Which was cool. Alas I have absolutely NO photos of her whatsoever, a destiny she shares with a lot other understudies of the early Phantom days. One day, one day…

Just have a random question about understudies. Are the understudies always the Princess in Hannibal or the Mirror Bride? Or does it vary? I'm basically asking if Elizabeth Welch's current track on Broadway is the same as Rebecca Luker's in the Original Cast

To my knowledge, Elizabeth Welch’s track is indeed the same as Rebecca Luker’s. In almost all cases, the u/s Christine plays the Princess in Hannibal, Mirror Bride in the First Lair, Triangle Girl in Masquerade, and Don Juan lady in Don Juan Rehearsal. On Broadway this has been the pattern since the production opened, ditto for West End. 

(But I was told the other day that the ALTERNATE was the one doing this track in Vienna, so there’s always exceptions to the rule, it seems :) )

Have you ever in all your years as a Phan encountered a mention/cast list/audio of Deb(orah) Wells as Carlotta? She was the understudy in Melbourne 1990-2 and in Sydney 1993. She's my new singing teacher and I'm dying to know if there's anything at all out there of her performance aside from her private backstage photos (which I would not, obviously, post online). According to her she performed over 200 times.

I have her listed as Madame Firmin and Carlotta u/s in the original Melbourne brochure, but apart from biography and headshot I haven’t got a single photo of her. Haven’t seen any audios of her either, but if she did 200 shows as Carlotta chances are someone taped it, somewhere. It might not be for public trade or listed correctly? Or I might have missed it somewhere… 

I know it’s a lot to ask, but maybe she would like to share some of her backstage photos? I mean, Tumblr has an own tag called “understudy love”! And there is just way too little of the original Australian production and tour out there. 

Either how, thanks for the ask and thanks for sharing. It must be awesome to get singing lessons from one who was a part of the original Australian cast. :) 

Is 'The Complete Phantom of the Opera' by George Perry any good?

Oh, I love it. It was rather thorough in trying to summon up the whole Phantom world, and it had the benefit of doing so before Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical became a mega multi million smash hit overshadowing all other versions. ALW’s version was a box office hit when the book was released, obviously, but it wasn’t the popular cultural phenomenon it is today. 

Apart from describing Phantom in various incarnations, and of course the Palais Garnier, it also describes the early days of the ALW musical, with quotes from the original team and some contemporary views on its success. There is of course also the full libretto, full OLC cast list, and a lot of rather lovely photos from onstage, backstage etc. It was also my first glimpse of Maria Bjørnson’s costume design. 

In my opinion, this is a must have for every fan. I really wish for an updated version of it, including the whole hype and the worldwide productions. I don’t think the 25th anniversary book did a too good job here (and definitely not the movie companion book). 

Also, the Viennese production had its own version made of The Complete POTO. The concept and layout is the same, but the photos and interviews are Vienna specific. Pretty cool. I can only lament that more productions didn’t make one. Imagine one for Toronto or Melbourne or Las Vegas! Or Tokyo! Or Stockholm! 

is there a specific name for every costume in masquerade?

As far as I know, yes. Their name is written in the design by Maria Bjørnson. At places I suspect it was meant more as a description, but then the description has stuck as the name of the costume. 

Some even have multiple names. The character “Gauloise" is frequently also called "Frenchie" and "Smurfette"; the former is more of a slang version of Gauloise, the latter because of her Phrygian cap reminding of Smurf headwear

Other costumes might be called one thing in the design, and another thing backstage, like Carlotta’s “Spider Dance”, which is frequently referred to as “Queen of the Night” and “Bat” backstage. I’ve also heard “Spider Queen” in use. 

There are some costumes where I haven’t seen the actual name on the design, and have to trust on what I’ve heard backstage. That’s where I’ve picked up the various names in use - each production has its own traditions, it seems. :) 

When Sierra leaves Phantom on Broadway do you know who the next christine will be?

I *think* Mary Michael Patterson takes over as principal again (someone correct me if I’m wrong), but I have no idea who the eventual new alternate will be. 

Who are the current performers in the US tour of Phantom?
Thank you for the review of Twisted Every Way! I couldn't believe you watched the whole thing! And were able to concentrate through all the performances?! (It's always interesting to read your comments. Enjoy very much!)

HAHAHA, more on the video review thing? *laughing so hard* Again, I’m really happy people enjoyed it. I actually did pay close attention to the whole thing, only once or twice did I zoom out. Not sure if it was due to the performer, or due to the overload of the same melody and words… But in large it was really interesting to see how fairly small nuances could change the feeling or even the meaning of the scene. 

Ahhhhh thank you so much for the Christine comparison. When I have time I will one day sit down and watch the whole thing ;D Also on another note, I've been watching the broadwaycom phantom vlogs and am I the only one who thinks that Marni looks so much like a real-life Christine?

Hahaha, that was a one-time-craziness, and I still can’t believe so many found it so entertaining/interesting. Giggle. 

I totally agree about Marni Raab. She has this petite face, slightly secretive, and very cute. She also has “Christine hair”. :) 

do you follow any les mis blogs you could recommend? I know it's not your thing exactly but it's still theatre right?

I’m so out of the loop when it comes to Les Mis. There is most definitely a LOT of high-class Les Mis blogs out there I should know about and recommend, but I’m really narrow minded… Howevery, I do enjoy the various Les Mis content in these blogs: 


And I am sure they can recommend even more goodies for you! 
(also, if anyone here is hardcore Les Mis bloggers, toot your own horn!)