• 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom Lobby Displays

    Nick Sheets, dramaturg To all those who have been following this blog throughout rehearsal and production for The Phantom of the Opera, may I take the time to thank you for your time and consideration. As dramaturgs, we strive to bridge gaps between the “behind-the-scenes” of our productions, and the lives of those who will eventually come to view our work. I hope, as this production’s dramaturg, that I have fulfilled that goal. The curtains have closed. The DeJong Concert Hall has passed its venue on to other great performances, but for me, there will always be a phantom lurking in the theater. I am grateful for all the hard work…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    Insight into the Phantom’s Final Talk-Back

    by Nichoals Sheets, dramaturg On the 31st of January at 10:00 p.m. we held our final talk-back session between the audience and the cast. The second time was different from the first, in that the final session only had the main characters on-stage. The first session on the 24th of January we had the entire cast. Both turned out just fine and both audiences were enthusiastic about the experience to pose questions and compliment the actors and the production team. I invited the audience to come up to the front of the DeJong Concert Hall. These were real troopers. The performance itself ended at 10:00 p.m., so these were those…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    Phantom Talk-Backs

    By Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg Picture this with me. The cast has just left the stage after a triumphant finish. The orchestration is about to play its final score of the night to bid patrons farewell. WAIT! The dramaturg runs out onto stage, “Good evening!” The audience, startled, looks up on stage. “Good evening everyone. We invite you to attend our talk-back session this evening with the actors.” The audience begins to get restless. Are they really going to be able to speak with the Phantom, let alone Christine? What a joy. Once the orchestration ends the dramaturg picks up the mic and the talk-back session begins. For everyone who isn’t…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    The Power of Spectacle in BYU’s Phantom

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg As The Phantom of the Opera continues to show strong at BYU I began to reflect a little on the power of the spectacle, due in part to my love for works by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Other musicals by Webber, besides The Phantom of the Opera, are also very popular: Jesus Christ, Superstar; Cats; Starlight Express; Love Never Dies (the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; and Evita. As the pictures show, there is a lot of eye candy in each of these shows, whether through costumes, musical numbers, scenery, lighting, or even directorial choices. Wherever a Webber musical…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    End of Phantom Tech Week

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg The time has come for the actors to rest before opening night. They have gone through an arduous week of tech rehearsals. However, even before the actors began to go live on stage, the production crew gathered together for what is called “paper tech” rehearsal. Paper tech is a rehearsal where the stage manager, lighting designer, stage designer, sound designer, costume designers, and just about every person involved in the technical aspect of the show, gather together and make sure all their notes coincide. Since I wasn’t part of the technical crew I went to see first-hand what goes on in these meetings. While incredibly dry…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    Phantom Fan-Fare

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg As the production comes closer, I thought it might be fun to see some of the fanfare that comes with The Phantom of the Opera. For example, the video below (which I think is edited pretty well): There is no question that a musical which has gained the hearts of literally tens of millions of its viewers around the globe is going to have its own set of fanatic fans, let alone toys. Take the following for example: As you can tell, there are lots of different avenues for fans to bring The Phantom of the Opera into their lives. I’m sure there are even some of our…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom’s World of French Grand Opera

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg Within The Phantom of the Opera there are three operas: Hannibal, Il Muto, and Don Juan. While these are fictional operas, they illustrate the pompous and elaborate stagings of the French Grand Opera during the 19th century. Just take a look at the costumes and sets: French Grand Opera began in 1828 with the opera La Muette de Portici (The Mute Girl of Portici) by Daniel Auber. Within this five-act show there was a ballet scene, romantic passion set in historical contexts, and the use of spectacular staging effects. Also worth noting is the first production of this opera was performed in the Paris Opera House, or known officially at the…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom’s Paris: Life in the Belle Epoque

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg Awhile back I created a presentation for the actors as their dramaturg. I had been given an assignment by the director and co-director to help the actors delve into their roles in this production. For example, the actor playing Raoul needs to learn what sort of life he would live during the 1880’s in France to help create his back-story. The back-story is the world in which the actor will put himself so everything he does has history during the performance. For example, when Raoul says certain things in Phantom he understands why he is speaking that particular way and what kind of relationships he has with the…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    Behind-the-Scenes with the Phantom Choreographers and Dancers

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg This week I slipped into rehearsal to see what was going on with the dancers for Phantom. What I found was super neat. Just like the costume department, the dancing routines are divided as well. In other words, the dancing in this show is so intense that there are two faculty members at BYU heading up this show. Let me give you a breakdown. First, we have Lisa Stoddard in charge of the Masquerade section. I spoke with her and asked her what it felt like to be choreographing a very important scene in Phantom. She mentioned it was kind of scary to take on this…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    Behind-the-Scenes with the Phantom Costume Designers

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg The other day I visited the basement of the HFAC, known for its labyrinth-like feel and lack of sunlight (there are no windows). I navigated the halls until I arrived at the Costume Studio. I was curious as to what was going on in terms of costume making for Phantom. There are three design teams working on the costumes for our production. One team is working on the costumes found in the three operas within the musical. The first opera is Hannibal. This is the scene where we return to the opera house and Carlotta is singing. During this practice the new opera owners enter: André…