EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School Musical Threatre troop presented Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” for its annual spring production. Shows takes place in the Arthur Elmasian Auditorium late last week, Thursday, April 3 through Saturday, April 5.
EPHS Theatre teacher MaryAnn Lasorsa worked with a new director this year, Patrick Saunders, who is a school alum and recent graduate of Providence College with a degree in Theatre.
“I knew after Young Frankenstein that Jim Manchester wouldn’t be coming back, and I approached Patrick to see if he wanted to direct a show with me, as he had just graduated from PC,” Ms. Lasorsa said of her new partnership with Mr. Saunders.
“Phantom,” of course, is one of the most successful Broadway productions of all time. The musical was composed by Mr. Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Charles Hart, additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, and a book by Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe. Based on the classic novel “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra” by Gaston Leroux, “Phantom” 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. Its sensational score includes “Think of Me,” “Angel of Music,” “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” “Masquerade” and the title song.
According to Mr. Saunders’ playbill notes, “While there is a wealth of rich and beautiful works in the canon of musical theater, I would argue that few works possess the same immediate recognition as The Phantom of the Opera. It is a truly a classic. Just hearing those initial organ chords transports us all to the Phantom’s subterranean lair beneath the Opera Populaire. Even people who have not seen Phantom before can immediately identify its music and that haunting mask. Knowing this, and knowing the spectacles involved and expected for this story, I am not ashamed to admit that it was with some hesitancy and reservation that I approached this monstrous work about one of the theater’s most tragic characters.”
The principle cast included: “Christine Daaé” – Lauren Pothier; “The Phantom” – Matthew Fagan; “Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny” – Brendan Abrahamson; “Monsieur Firmin” – Joshua B. Audino; “Monsieur André” – Shawn DaRosa; “Carlotta Giudicelli” – Lauren Vine; “Ubaldo Piangi” – Shawn Contente; “Meg Giry” – Marissa Browning; and “Madame Giry” – Madalaine Carroll.
“I’ve wanted to do ‘Phantom’ since it was released to amateur theaters two years ago, I love the music,” Ms. Lasorsa explained. “It is large and daunting production, but I felt that we had the kids to pull it off. We will be the first HS in the state to mount the production. I don’t believe that there has even been an amateur theatre that has done it yet.”