Concessions stocked. Ice chests full. Tickets printing. A call for sound check in five. Amidst the flurry of pre-matinee energy, Phantom of the Opera's very own Phantom, Quentin Oliver Lee, took time to meet with the press to spread the word about this latest incarnation of the much beloved Andrew Lloyd Webber classic. Cutting a striking profile at 6'7", and with a voice like honey on gravel, the man behind the mask is surprisingly gentile and approachable. When asked about getting the opportunity to play the Phantom, Lee didn't hesitate.

"It's an honor. It really is. To do this show eight times a week," gushed the opera singer, with the energy of someone who still can't believe their fortune. "I try to bring something new and exciting every day."

Stefani Bishop
Setting the pyrotechnics for the famous Chandelier scene. - Stefani Bishop

It can be difficult to introduce the new and exciting to a treasured classic, but don't worry die-hard fans, you won't be disappointed. The over 1,200 costume pieces the company travels with are based on the original Tony award-winning costume design, if not the actual pieces from the original production. Caring for these 30-year-old pieces can be daunting, and according to Stage Manager Mitch Hodges, the company relies on the efforts of local talent to mend, re-bead, and launder. Quite the task when you see the intricate hand-beading on the Phantom's cape, alone. Aside from bringing in a warehouse full of costumes, the company also supplies their own sound equipment, requiring Miller Auditorium to completely empty their stage for load-in. Everything from the sets and the screens, to the famous chandelier and special effects, therein - all 18 semi-trailers worth of production elements - are unique to this production.

"This Phantom," Quentin Oliver Lee explains, "is grounded in reality. He's not a magician who can cast spells over people." But the message surrounding the production still resonates. Lee continues, "This show matters because it's about listening, passion, and love. A take on compassion that's rarely seen. It's a redemption story that's really worth hearing. It's been around for 30 years. Come see why."

Phantom of the Opera runs through February 17th at Miller Auditorium. Click here for more information and tickets.

Break legs, cast and company of Phantom of the Opera, and thank you for bringing The Music of the Night to Kalamazoo.

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