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A smaller stage and just as much spectacle in ‘Phantom of the Opera’

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A smaller stage and just as much spectacle in ‘Phantom of the Opera’

MANILA, Philippines – It’s no wonder that the Phantom of the Opera has gained quite the following among Filipino fans. It is, after all, a show that’s heavy on the drama and theatrics, hits the highest of notes, and has several passionate love songs on its soundtrack.

Naturally, when it was announced that the show would be returning to Manila for a limited run beginning February 20, Filipino phans rejoiced. The last time Philippine audiences had a chance to see Phantom was 7 years ago, and its return could not have been more celebrated (in fact, the closing date has been extended several times – the run now ends April 7).

This time around, the play is running at the Solaire Theater, with a new main cast, save for Jonathan Roxmouth, who returns as Phantom.

Phantom is a spectacle that perhaps is more fit for a bigger stage (the last time it was staged in Manila was at the CCP Main Theater) – but what the production does with Solaire Theater’s smaller stage is impressive. Anyway, the mild claustrophobia one feels at seeing the tighter space only amplifies the feeling of dread that the unseen opera ghost creates.

And anyway, a cozier venue only means that no matter where one sits, one can appreciate all the finer details in the set design and the costumes. In fact, the details – and the audience’s proximity to it – are so enchanting that from time to time one might find their attention wandering off from the action and on to, say, the moving set pieces in the Hannibal dress rehearsal scene, or to the countless crystals in the chandelier overhead, or to pretty much everything everyone is wearing in “Masquerade” (arguably, the most visually stunning number in the show).

But the actors, and the music, always come in at the right time to snap anyone out of their reverie, or lure them into a different kind of trance.

Anchoring the show is Jonathan Roxmouth, who also played the title character in the previous Manila run. His experience in playing is evident in the way he embodies the character completely – from the way he stands, to the way he unfurls his fingers, and, most importantly, to his voice. It is for sure a function of his character that his presence is felt without him even being onstage – but it is also a credit to Jonathan himself, whose voice is as powerful (and as threatening, and as pitiful) when it is booming, as when it goes down to a stage whisper.

Holding her own next to Jonathan is Meghan Picerno, who plays Christine Daaé. As the leading lady and the object of the Phantom’s obsession, Meghan projects bright-eyed vulnerability and delivers a strong soprano performance to match. Even at her most fearful, we feel that Christine is a force to be reckoned with – particularly because of her unwavering vocals.

Completing this doomed love triangle is Matt Leisy, whose take on Raoul is less the dashing Prince Charming, more the impulsive brave boy – the young man just before he becomes a hero. It is ultimately a more endearing portrayal of the character, and a better match – vocally, and emotionally – to Meghan’s Christine.

In 2019, the musical’s premise rings rather old-fashioned, problematic even. There are many ways to read the story in the #MeToo era – whether the play boxes its female characters into stereotypes, whether the story glorifies or condemns the Phantom’s murderous, obsessive stalking – these points deserve a separate discussion.

At any rate, one realizes that Phantom is not quite the timeless tale its theater tenure makes it out to be. But what it still is – and perhaps, what it always will be – is a devoted tribute to classic forms of performance art, executed in fine fashion by a pitch-perfect cast, and uncompromised production.

In the same way that the lonely, menacing Phantom was able to lure the bright young Christine Daae into the depths of darkness with his voice, so too did this production of Phantom of the Opera – technical brilliance and all – leave audiences quite spellbound. – Rappler.com

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phantom of the opera manila 2019

EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ star Jonathan Roxmouth on why he fell in love with Manila

Written by Chang Casal

Updated Jan 19, 2019, 2:47:29 AM

phantom of the opera manila 2019

Jonathan Roxmouth, who plays the Phantom, and Meghan Picerno, who plays Christine, performing “The Music of the Night.” Roxmouth recently took us on a rehearsal tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” in Manila and revealed what he loves about Manila. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — “Some people believe that theater is really exciting in rehearsal because it's as incredible to watch the actors finding their way through the show as [it is to see] the finished product,” says Jonathan Roxmouth as he shows us around the Star Theater. “[‘The Phantom of the Opera’] is no different. It's a feast for what you see, for what you hear, for what you feel.”

Roxmouth plays the Phantom on the world tour of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s acclaimed musical. He’s also one of the youngest people to ever play the Phantom — he was 25 years old during the 2012 tour (which also made a stop in Manila, making this his second time here). Roxmouth considers himself a great fan of Lloyd Weber, and his connection to ‘Phantom’ runs deep — his grandfather taught him how to conduct to the cassette of the original London Cast Album. All of this made him the perfect man to show us around rehearsals before the show opens at The Theater at Solaire on Feb. 20.

Roxmouth first led us into the Star Tent, which the production has been using as a movement and choreography space. “Most people know that ‘Phantom’ has an incredible score with music and singing, but there’s also quite a bit of movement in it that the late great Gillian Lynne choreographed,” he says.

Inside, choreographer Denny Berry, whom Roxmouth referred to as their very own Madame Giry, leads the cast through “Masquerade” — a pivotal scene in the play that showcases a coming together of the musical’s best elements: the singing, the dancing, the costumes, and the set design. Though here at the Star Tent, it’s a “Masquerade” sans costume and design, just how fabulously the cast’s voices come together with the movement is enough to pique our curiosity.

phantom of the opera manila 2019

Inside the Star Tent, where the cast rehearse dance and movement, we spot the ingenue Christine (Meghan Picerno, left) and her childhood friend-turned-lover Raoul (Matt Leisy, center). Photo by JL JAVIER

phantom of the opera manila 2019

The cast onstage the Star Theater to rehearse “Masquerade” — a pivotal scene in the play that showcases a coming together of the musical’s best elements: the singing, the dancing, the costumes, and the set design. Photo by JL JAVIER

This is also where we first spot the two leads that make up the iconic “Phantom” trio — the ingenue Christine, played by Meghan Picerno, and Christine’s childhood friend and later lover, Raoul, played by Matt Leisy. Moments later, the cast moves to the main stage where they do a more fleshed out version of Masquerade, and as they touch that final line — “Masquerade! Take your fill, let the spectacle astound you” — we are indeed astounded.

When the stage clears to leave us with just Picerno and Leisy performing a segment of “All I Ask of You,” it is here where we catch a glimpse of their undeniable chemistry as Raoul tenderly embraces Christine, singing “Forget these wide-eyed fears/ I'm here, nothing can harm you.” This is also where Picerno reveals to us why she makes an incredible Christine. As she sings “Say you love me every waking moment/ Turn my head with talk of summertime,” her sweet yet powerful soprano sends chills down my spine.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the tour — and of course, the show — is seeing Christine and the Phantom come together. Our last stop leads us to the music room where Picerno is rehearsing with “Phantom’s” musical supervisor, Kristen Blodgette, at the piano.

phantom of the opera manila 2019

Picerno and Leisy perform “All I Ask of You,” where we catch a glimpse of their undeniable chemistry and Picerno's sweet and powerful soprano. Photo by JL JAVIER

“I've been doing it for a long time and I never tire of it,” says Blodgette as she and Roxmouth have a quick chat over the years they’ve spent on the show. “I think that's sort of the brilliance of Andrew [Lloyd Weber] and the fact that it's accessible to everyone. Audiences of any language, in any language, can love the score, can love the show.”

As a grand finale to our tour, Roxmouth dons his mask and ceases to be Jonathan, Picerno falls into place in his arms, and you could almost see the modest music room transforming into the Phantom’s candlelit lair as the two perform a bit of “The Music of the Night.”

It’s evident throughout this whole tour just how much heart and soul each member of the production is putting into the show. “People in the show are so attached to it,” says Roxmouth. “Everybody has a story about how their grandparents took them to ‘Phantom’ for the first time, or they had the cast album. Everybody's attached to it in some way, and I think when a cast adores the show that they're doing, the audiences get something really special.”

phantom of the opera manila 2019

“I think what makes this really really exciting is it is a really mixed group in terms of the cast,” says Roxmouth. “We have people from all over the world, from Brazil, from South Africa, from the States, Britain.” Photo by JL JAVIER

After the tour, we sat down with Roxmouth to talk more about what audiences can look forward to in the show, why he keeps coming back to the role, and what he loves about Manila. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

What do you think Manila audiences in particular can look forward to in this staging?

This staging is what they had the last time, but I think what makes this really exciting is it is a really mixed group in terms of the cast. We have people from all over the world, from Brazil, from South Africa, from the States, Britain. It's quite something. And because we have different backgrounds, we're learning so much more from each other.

You played the Phantom when the show was in Manila in 2012, and now you’re back seven years later. What is it about Manila that you like?

I fell in love with Manila the first time I was here for a few reasons. I wasn't quite prepared for how much the people of Manila adore music. There's music in every aspect of the culture, there's music everywhere you go, everybody in the Philippines apparently can sing, and not just sing, sing really well. I'm obviously a big fan of Lea Salonga, so it's lovely to see how the culture here just adores and respects theater in a way that I haven't seen in many places in the world. I've had the opportunity to travel with a number of productions. That first tour we did with ‘Phantom’ in 2012, I fell hopelessly in love with this place.

How long have you been playing the Phantom?

2012 was the last time I played it. It's interesting to come back to the role seven years later because I have seven years more of living life, of developing as an actor, as a singer. My voice has changed completely since the last time I was here. So it's nice to come with a lot of that experience now and revisit certain things.

Many actors in the past have had the opportunity to do that. One that sticks in my mind is Anthony Warlow from Australia. He was barely 30 when he first did it. I also was considered quite young the first time I did it. And then he did it again years later, and even he, the great Warlow, said it was fascinating coming back to it. And I have to agree. It's that good a show that there's always something more that you can discover.

phantom of the opera manila 2019

“It's lovely to see how the culture here just adores and respects theater in a way that I haven't seen in many places in the world,” says Jonathan Roxmouth on what he likes about performing in Manila. Photo by JL JAVIER

How does that time away enrich the role for you this time?

Number one, you miss it. When I got here for the first day of rehearsal, I was quite emotional. I didn't expect it because I only realized how much I missed it and kind of pined after it. When I stopped playing the Phantom in 2012, I went into a state of mourning almost, because it's a role very dear to my heart. And I thought missing it so much and wishing it was somehow here again helped coming back to it now. And I can't wait to do it again.

What is it about the musical that keeps you coming back?

It's such a difficult question because yes, it's a given that it's one of Andrew Lloyd Weber's best scores. It's my favorite score of his. I've done quite a few Andrew Lloyd Weber shows —- six of them — so I'm a great fan of his writing. But the thing with ‘Phantom’ is, it's not at all what you expect. Everybody knows the music. But you put that music in the show and it starts telling a completely different story. And it makes you feel things in context that you never ever feel in other musicals.

There is nothing like ‘Phantom.’ Lots of shows kind of remind you of ‘Phantom,’ but ‘Phantom’ reminds you of nothing else. It's completely standalone. There's a reason why it's the longest-running musical on Broadway. Everywhere it goes, it affects people. And that has to say something about the show.

It's the alchemy of how it came together originally. You have Hal Prince directing, you have Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart doing the lyrics, you have Marie Bjornson designing, Andrew Bridge on lighting. It just gets better and better and better. And you cannot believe the way it just came together under the helm of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Cameron Mackintosh. We're talking about juggernauts of the theater, of course this is going to be a prestigious event.

How do you think the show stays fresh 30 or so years later?

I think the fact that it is about love, acceptance, loss, being human — that's the secret to it. ‘Phantom’ is about being human and how we interact with each other.

                                                                            ***

“The Phantom of the Opera” runs from Feb. 20 to Mar. 17 at The Theatre at Solaire. Tickets are available through Ticketworld.

  • Philippines

The Phantom of the Opera to return to Manila in 2019

The Phantom of the Opera to return to Manila in 2019

The Phantom of the Opera is making it's much awaited return to Manila this February.

Brought to you by Concertus Manila, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical will premiere at The Theatre at Solaire  for a limited season starting February 20 (Wednesday).

phantom of the opera manila 2019

“ The Phantom of the Opera put Filipino theatre fans on a spell in its Philippine debut almost seven years ago, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring back the legendary musical for more Filipinos to enjoy,” says Oscar Enrico A. Reyes, Jr., Senior Vice President and Head of Consumer Market Development for PLDT and Smart. He believes that presenting the musical to Philippine audiences, along with Broadway titles like Cats , Chicago , Wicked , and Les Miserables , is one of the ways PLDT and Smart continue to provide "epic entertainment experiences for our beloved subscribers."

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The multi-awarded Broadway Musical is currently showing in London, New York, Budapest, and is on tour in the US.

Tickets go on sale today (10/08) via Ticket World . Check out the ticket prices below.

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Watch the London trailer of The Phantom of the Opera below.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of The Opera’ returns to Manila in 2019

BY Jomae Bondoc

After 6 years, the longest-running Broadway show The Phantom of the Opera returns to Manila for their much-awaited world tour. The Gaston Leroux’s novel adaptation show will begin on February 20, 2019 in the Theatre at Solaire.

The good news was revealed in the official Facebook post of the Broadway show on Saturday. The romantic-tragedy story with iconic songs such as T he Music of the Night, All I Ask of You, Think of Me,  and titular tune  The Phantom of the Opera  had their first musical run in Manila back in 2012 at the Cultural Center of The Philippines.

Lifestyleasia.com Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of The Opera returns to Manila in 2019

Further details about the Broadway are yet to be announced by Ticket world soon.

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Phantom of the opera star jonathan roxmouth says manila is his musical heaven.

phantom of the opera manila 2019

Phantom of the Opera’s Jonathan Roxmouth has declared Manila his musical heaven on his return to the Philippines after 7 years.

Roxmouth, who plays the title role in the longest-running Broadway musical marking its 31st anniversary in 2019, is in Manila for the staging of The Phantom of the Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous musical about the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as ‘The Phantom’ who haunts the Paris Opera House whose love for young soprano Christine turns into a mad obsession when she reunites with her childhood friend Raoul.

Roxmouth announced his arrival in Manila on his Instagram saying, “I’m in heaven.”

In media interviews Roxmouth continued heaping praises on his host country, telling the Philippine Star, “Returning to Manila already makes this (production) a standout for me. I fell in love with the city and the people,” he says.

The multi awarded actor reveals his return to Manila marks a significant juncture in his performance history – as he starts the new world tour in Manila in 2019 some seven years after he ended his last world tour in 2012.

“I get to play the Phantom in the city where my last tour ended. It feels like I’m picking up where I left off. Not bursting into tears is going to be my biggest challenge. My heart feels like it is two sizes too big for my body,” says Roxmouth.

He further explains his adoration for the Philippines to CNN noting the musicality of the people, “I fell in love with Manila the first time I was here for a few reasons. I wasn’t quite prepared for how much the people of Manila adore music. There’s music in every aspect of the culture, there’s music everywhere you go, everybody in the Philippines apparently can sing, and not just sing, sing really well.”

Roxmouth also declares his excitement at being in the country of the Philippines’ international Broadway star, Lea Salonga who recently marked her first nomination from the Grammys.

“I’m obviously a big fan of Lea Salonga, so it’s lovely to see how the culture here just adores and respects theater in a way that I haven’t seen in many places in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to travel with a number of productions. That first tour we did with ‘Phantom’ in 2012, I fell hopelessly in love with this place,” adds the South African performer.

Jonathan Roxmouth, the lead performer of the Phantom of the Opera’s World Tour in Manila – on stage at The Theatre at Solaire from February 20 to March 17, 2019 – has also made good on his declaration of favoring the Philippines and announced a day before Valentine’s that he is staging his very first international concert in Manila.

“So…here’s a little surprise. My first international concert will be in Manila. Orchestra. Special Guests. Show tunes. That’s how we roll…” posted Phantom’s Jonathan Roxmouth on his social media on February 13.

“Jonathan Roxmouth, The Musicals in Concert” will have two shows on April 13 at The Theatre at Solaire, after the Manila run of the Phantom of the Opera.

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SNEAK PEEK: ‘Phantom’ Cast Performs ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘All I Ask of You’, and More!

The Phantom of the Opera

The international touring production of “The Phantom of the Opera”, which opened to Manila audiences last February 20, continues to run at The Theatre at Solaire until March 31.

It has been 7 years since the musical last came to Manila. 32 years after it first opened on the West End, the production still continues to resonate with audiences worldwide.

“The bar is set so high,” says Jonathan Roxmouth, who comes back to Manila to play the titular role. “What you see, what you feel, what you hear, honestly, I’ve done quite a few shows now, I’ve yet to see a musical do what the show does to an audience. It’s on its own level.”

“It doesn’t really matter where you’re from. It’s a story rooted in love,” shares Meghan Picerno, who plays Christine Daaé. “There are just such universal, human emotions within the fiber of the story. And then of course, you have the beautiful melodies and orchestrations of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I mean nothing can compare to that overture. And of course, the costumes. I’m wearing art on stage. It’s just magical.”

Both Roxmouth and Picerno are not new to the characters. Roxmouth played the role during the touring production at the CCP in 2012, while Picerno played the role of Christine in “Love Never Dies”, the sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera”, in its US Premiere and its First National Tour.

The Phantom of the Opera

Jonathan Roxmouth and Meghan Picerno; photos by Frida Tan

“I have a lot more confidence now,” shares Roxmouth, when asked if there was a change in his attack on the role in 2019. “I’m not a fan of change for change sake. That’s very dangerous because I like to trust that what I found back then still rings true. Certain things may have changed here and there, my hair’s shorter, (laughs) but the rest of it, it’s the same effect. The music is so clear in its inspiration for me. The minute it starts, it just happens. I never get in the way of that.”

When asked if Picerno’s experience playing the older version of Christine in the sequel helped her in creating her Christine for ‘Phantom’, “Yes and no,” she says. “In one sense, yes, because I’ve been living her future for the last year and a half and as a performer, I created a backstory. Now, I am living the beginning of it all, so in that sense, yes. And it’s so exciting to know where she ends up. That being said, I do, though, have to remember that the time that ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ was written, ‘Love Never Dies’ was not. So at the same time, I have to separate the two because my future self as Christine actually can’t influence the past self of Christine because she wouldn’t know that that’s where she ends up.”

“It’s very important to remember that there’s a difference playing my 28-year old self in ‘Love Never Dies’ as opposed to my 18-year old self here,” she adds. “In my life too. I’m not the same as I was when I was 18, thank goodness. (laughs) But part of that is the excitement. Christine in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is experiencing everything for the first time. She’s in Paris, and the death of her father has not been that far off. It’s the first time she’s ever meeting the Phantom. She doesn’t know what’s coming. In ‘Love Never Dies’, she’s a little bit more refined. She’s been through ‘Phantom of the Opera’, and that’s not a memory that she’ll forget. But I do love that. Very, very few of us have had the great pleasure and honor to do both younger and older versions of Christine. As an actor, I can tell you that it’s very exciting, because this is where it all started.”

“The Phantom of the Opera” is also currently running in London, New York, Budapest, and on tour in the US.

You can watch excerpts of “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Prima Donna”, “All I Ask of You”, and “Masquerade” in the video below.

You can buy tickets HERE .

a

About the Author / Frida Tan

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Founder and Managing Director of TheaterFansManila.com. Thinks about the performing arts scene 2/3 of the day, everyday. A firm believer in the Filipino artist.

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    After 6 years, the longest-running Broadway show The Phantom of the Opera returns to Manila for their much-awaited world tour. The Gaston Leroux's novel adaptation show will begin on February 20, 2019 in the Theatre at Solaire. The good news was revealed in the official Facebook post of the Broadway show on Saturday.

  13. Tickets Now on Sale for The Phantom of the Opera!

    As previously reported, The Phantom of the Opera is coming back to Manila in February 2019, this time at The Theatre at Solaire. The last time it was staged here was in 2012 at the CCP starring Jonathan Roxmouth as the Phantom and Claire Lyon as Christine. Tickets were on sale starting yesterday. You can buy tickets HERE.

  14. The Phantom of the Opera at Theatre at Solaire

    Dates: (2/20/2019 - 3/17/2019 ) Theatre: Theatre at Solaire Parañaque, 1701 Manila , 1 2 View All Philippines Shows > The Phantom of the Opera SUBMIT UPDATES Photos Videos Discount Cast...

  15. Phantom of the Opera World Tour

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  16. Phantom of the Opera star Jonathan Roxmouth says Manila is his musical

    Phantom of the Opera's Jonathan Roxmouth has declared Manila his musical heaven on his return to the Philippines after 7 years. Roxmouth, who plays the title role in the longest-running Broadway musical marking its 31st anniversary in 2019, is in Manila for the staging of The Phantom of the Opera - Andrew Lloyd Webber's most […]

  17. Photos of The Phantom of the Opera at Solaire

    Feb 26, 2019 Share Copy Link (SPOT.ph) A week after its premiere in Manila, The Phantom of the Opera 's international tour continues to wow the Filipino audience not only with its timeless tales but also with its stunning spectacle.

  18. 'The Phantom of the Opera' Announces Full Cast

    Dec 14, 2018 by TheaterFansManila.com 0 comments Share this article As previously reported, Jonathan Roxmouth will be reprising his role as the Phantom. He will be joined by Meghan Picerno who will be performing the role of Christine Daaé, and Matt Leisy who will be performing the role of Raoul.

  19. The Phantom of the Opera in Manila

    Featuring Jonathan Roxmouth & Meghan Picerno. Press preview. The Theatre Solaire. Feb 26, 2019.

  20. Phantom of the Opera World Tour Manila 2019- Curtain Call

    Phantom of the Opera World Tour Manila 2019March 6, 2019Phantom of the Opera - Jonathan RoxmouthChristine Daaé - Meghan PicernoRaoul Vicomte de Chagny - Matt...

  21. 'The Phantom of the Opera' Announces Cast for Asian Tour

    As previously reported, 'The Phantom of the Opera', comes back to Manila for a limited season starting February 20, 2019 at The Theatre at Solaire.. As we announced last month, Jonathan Roxmouth will be reprising his role as the Phantom for the Asian tour. Other principal cast members who will be joining him are Meghan Picerno as Christine and Matt Leisy as Raoul.

  22. Nightwisheverywhere on Instagram: "Phantom of the Opera

    24K likes, 388 comments - nightwisheverywhere on December 15, 2023: "Phantom of the Opera - Floor Jansen & Henk Poort (2019) just amazing : TikTok @ ( ...

  23. PHANTOM OF THE OPERA MANILA 2019 REVIEW

    Frequently asked question about The Phantom of The Opera ManilaWhat to wear when watching The Phantom of the Opera Manila? What's the best seat for The Phant...

  24. SNEAK PEEK: 'Phantom' Cast Performs 'The Phantom of the Opera', 'All I

    The international touring production of "The Phantom of the Opera", which opened to Manila audiences last February 20, continues to run at The Theatre at Solaire until March 31. It has been 7 years since the musical last came to Manila. 32 years after it first opened on the West End, the production still continues to resonate with audiences ...