So, there’s this guy, who lives in the bowels of an opera house…his own personal underground lair, if you will. He’s mad, he is, and he has an obsession with a young singer who has the voice of an angel, and he won’t be happy until she is all his! Is this happening in Elgin? Well, sort of…
The Elgin Community College Fox Valley Theatre Company (FVTC) presents, “The Phantom of the Opera”, the longest-running musical in Broadway history. This favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Hart romantic musical has been running on Broadway since 1988! And if you don’t know the story by now – here is the synopsis…The Phantom (a.k.a. the “Opera Ghost”), is a mysterious disfigured man who becomes obsessed with Christine a young unknown singer, and he won’t be happy until she is his and singing the lead. The Opera Ghost takes drastic measures to ensure this. There is a hanging, a graveyard scene that emits all the spookiness that a graveyard can, and an attempted murder in the catacombs of evil, but this is all balanced out by the lyrical beauty of the songs and the romantic tale.
I have seen the Broadway production of “Phantom”, and I was pleasantly surprised that this production measured up. (Truth be told – I wasn’t surprised because Children’s Theatre of Elgin (CTE)/FVTC always gives its audience a professional level show.) The scenery, props (you’ve got to check out the chandelier that comes crashing down), lighting, costumes (especially in the opening of Act II’s Masquerade Ball) and the music was not that of the average community theatre group! While watching this particular production of, “The Phantom of the Opera”, one may think that he or she was some how teleported to Broadway!
One thing that is across the board with all Elgin theatre groups, though – is that the talent is always superior, and each performer gives their hearts to the audience. This is true for FVTC’s “Phantom”. What was unique about this performance, though, is that this production marked the beginning of the theatre group’s 25th anniversary season, and to celebrate, alumni were invited back to be a part of the show. One actor in particular is having an illustrious career, thus far, after life with CTE/FVTC. Andy Bero, who convincingly played the Phantom, is a graduate of Central High School, Burlington, IL, CTE/FVTC and Milliken University. After graduating from university, he moved to New York where he signed with an agent and had much success with regional and national touring productions!
Andy’s voice has magnificent tone and I love the resonance that it sends out! However, Andy’s portrayal could only be successful if he became the Opera Ghost – and that he did! And his evil was balanced out by Christine, played by Alicia Hurtado, a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School, whose voice has such roundness to the sound. When she hit those high notes, it was a most beautiful pure sound! They were both very well cast in FVTC’s “Phantom”. And in addition to that, the entire very talented cast made this production a very enjoyable and entertaining winner!
At this time, “All I ask of You” is to go see FCTV’s production of, “The Phantom of the Opera”. It’s on this Friday – Sunday (September 23, 24, & 25th) at Elgin Community College’s Blizzard Theatre. It’s easy to get tickets (only $12 for adults/$10 for students). Just visit elgin.edu/community or call the box office at 847.622.0300. After you watch “Phantom”, you will be “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”…and you can be - See it on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, because after that… it’s gone…just like the Opera Ghost!