Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA will make its highly anticipated return to DPAC for two weeks, February 28 through March 11, 2018. With newly reinvented staging and stunning scenic design, this new version of PHANTOM is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, the show tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
I saw PHANTOM almost 15 years ago while living in New York and I am very excited to see the touring production come to DPAC this week. In preparation for opening night I interviewed Jordan Craig by phone earlier this month. Jordan plays Raoul in the show. He is the foil to the Phantom in many ways and the competing love interest of Christine. We talked about the enduring popularity of the show and what it is like to tour with the production.
What was it like going from regional theater in Atlanta to touring in Phantom?
The years I spent in Atlanta were wonderful for me as an artist. I learned so much about the business and what it means to live in a community of artists who care about one another and support each other. My work there prepared me for life on this tour and I am so grateful for that. When I initially moved to New York it was even tougher than I imagined. I had to work two different jobs just to make rent and started to question whether a life in theater was going to work out for me. I was actually on my way to interview for a third job to help pay my bills when my agent called to tell me I landed the role of Raoul in Phantom. I was so happy I got off the bus at the next stop and and never even went to the interview! Landing this role has been a dream come true for me. It’s like Christmas. I love me job so much that ever day feels like Christmas to me!
Why do you think Phantom continue to be such a great success after all these years?
The thing about this show that makes it so appealing is that it presents you with a timeless human experience. It doesn’t tell you what to think. It simply holds a mirror up to human nature and allows us to get a glimpse of ourselves and the how we behave. And it does so in a way that’s non-threatening. So every person can have an opinion of what this show is about. At the end of the day it is a love story, and we can all relate to that in our own way.
Can you tell us a little about your character?
I play Raoul. In the political landscape he is what one would call a vice-count. More formally he is called him the Vicomte de Chagny. He is a person of power. He is the patron of the Paris Opera House which means he pays their salaries. He shows up at the opening night of the operas latest production and sees his childhood best friend is playing the lead and falls for her. He becomes a part of the love triangle that so much of the drama is centered around with the Phantom of course at the center of it all.
How has the production changed over the years?
All of the music remains the same, of course. It is so wonderful that would never be changed. But the sets and scale of the production is just huge, it’s massive actually. It’s an ingenious set design. It’s grand, it embraces the spectacle of it. Part of the re-envisions of the show is about technology. In the ’80s we didn’t have a lot of the stage technology that we now have. The lighting, pyrotechnics, automation, are all newer technologies that we now are able to use and harness. This production integrates that technology into the show in ways that I think are going to surprise audiences.
“Phantom of the Opera” has performances at DPAC Wednesday February 28th through Sunday, March 11th. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/phantom-of-the-opera-1