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 that went into this production from so many different outlets.
For my final entry I’d like to show just how collaborative it was to set up my lobby displays for this production. Michael Handley, the lighting designer for this show, is also a professional photographer, and took some amazing shots of the displays I set up. I will show you these pictures as well as give you the caption that went along with each display. For those who weren’t able to come to the show, this is a way for you to still experience some of the ambience that I created as audience members entered the theater.
On the fourth floor of the Harris Fine Arts Center there were two lobbies that led into the DeJong Concert Hall. One of those displays held jewelry and accessories that highlighted different aspects of The Phantom of the Opera.
Here is the description that went along with this display: “Inside this display case you will see various accessories that highlight many forms of jewelry found in this show. On your left are various pieces of jewelry in pastel colors that reflect the era of Il Muto, the opera where Carlotta receives a devastatin surprise from the Phantom. In the middle section are pieces of jewelry that reflect what audience members would have worn to the opera, showing off their sparkling diamonds. To your right there are various pieces of silver and gold that reflects the Middle Eastern feel of Hannibal, the opera where dancing slaves and an elephant appear. In the back are flashy pieces that could be used in a masquerade, a highlight of this show.”
Down the same hall there is another lobby where a wig and two pairs of shoes were on display.
Here is the description for this piece: “In this display case is an elaborate wig with pink pastels that would have been worn during an opera like Il Muto. This fictional opera, found within The Phantom of the Opera, highlights the grand opera of France in the 19th century. A major theme of this type of opera was a fascination with the follies of the upper class. The two pairs of shoes are typical of the costumes worn in these operas, as well as those of the French upper-class. Those with enough wealth found many ways to show off their power and money, especially with their clothes.”
When you leave this display you take the stairs down towards the ticket office. Next to the ticket office is another display: two full-size costumes.
Here is the description for this display: “Before you are two realistic outfits that gentlemen and ladies would typically wear to an opera in the late 19th century. The operas in 19th century France were more social events than they are typically today. Thus, one would dress to impress. Notice the sparkling necklace and silver lace. Women definitely wanted to show off their money and power. You can also note the furs that adorn each outfit. You might compare how you dress today to those of the 19th century who viewed the opera as one of the highlights of upper-class culture.”
A lot of collaboration went into these displays. John Adams, at the BYU Museum of Art, allowed me to borrow the two display cases on the 4th floor. BYU Moving, at the request of Elizabeth Funk, brought and took away the display cases. Angela, in the BYU costume shop, helped me pick out the clothes and accessories. Jason, in Gallery 303, allowed me to borrow the stands that held the descriptions. I could not have done these displays without these wonderful people. I am so grateful for them.
The final display was much larger. This was a rendering of the costume designs and the final outcome of those designs. The renderings were by Angela Robison, Deanne DeWitt, and Janet Swenson. The final outcome portion were pictures taken by Michael Handley at a video shoot for the boat entrance (into the lair), as well as pictures shot the night before we officially opened to the public.
I’m grateful for Ken Crossley, Dr. Christine Tanner, StyleCraft (in SLC), the BYU Bookstore, Jason at Gallery 303, Janine Sobeck, and Ariel Mitchell, for all their help in getting this display up. There was no description here. It was neat to see so many people shoot pictures next to this display, as well as stood and stared at the beautiful designs and costumes. Next to the display was a book where guests could write comments after the show. We had so many comments from so many people. Some of the locations they came from were: Utah, Portugal, Texas, Idaho, South Carolina, Florida, Chile, California, Colorado, Virginia, Mexico, Oregon, Brasil, and many more places!
Thanks again to everyone who offered support to this BYU production, as well as my dramaturgical efforts. You all are the best!