The Phantom Has Left the Building
The curtain has come down. The chandelier has fallen for the last time. And the intensity that gripped the Conservatory and the theatre department since the beginning of fall semester has ebbed. BW’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera was an unqualified success. BW was the first of six pilot non-professional performances of Webber’s monumental musical. The sites were selected by R&H Theatricals, a division of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, which will license the production to the stock and amateur theatre market if and when the show is released.
Charlie Scatamacchia, vice president for R&H Theatricals said that BW’s selection as one of the sites was, “a no-brainer.” He was impressed by BW’s New York showcase production last spring and knew Victoria Bussert’s reputation as a director. When he arrived on campus to see the production, his selection was more than verified.
Scatamacchia thoroughly enjoyed the production and said, “You are truly an amazing community of people.” He was impressed with the depth of research on the part of the cast in creating their roles, by the technical aspects of the production and by the quality of the 35-piece, all-student orchestra. In fact, many patrons, and at least one journalist, were surprised to learn that the orchestra was not made up of professional musicians.
Tickets for the production were a hot commodity and were sold out weeks before the show opened (a few even appeared on e-Bay). For those who were successful in securing seats, however, the effort was worth the wait.
Cleveland Plain Dealer theatre critic Tony Brown, who admits a dislike of the show and its creator, nevertheless said, “But what these kids—under the direction of Bussert and other faculty members at her program and at the BW music conservatory and regular theater department—accomplish here is nothing short of amazing.”
Writing for the News Sun, Rachael Derrick summed up her review by saying, “The musicianship and visual effects are no less than one might find on any professional stage.”