Friends from the media were recently granted backstage access to 'The Phantom Of The Opera' in Manila. The season has been extended until October 14, 2012, and I highly recommend for everyone to watch this Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece.
During the backstage tour, we were accompanied by production heads who also gave us more insight about what goes on beyond the stage of The Phantom of the Opera.
Eugene Titus, Head of Wardrobe, says that wardrobe is a huge component of The Phantom Of The Opera, a musical set in the decadent and dressy 1800s.
"The show has been around for twenty-five years, and we all work off a blueprint," Eugene shares. "So the show in London is exactly the same as the show on Broadway, in South Africa, in Manila." In fact, Eugene mentions that a lot of the fabrics even have registered trademarks.
The quickest costume change? It's twelve seconds: Christine Daae changes from her Don Juan costume to the white wedding dress. It takes ten people to do this dress change.
The Mandarin, one of the decadent costumes for the 'Masquerade' scene, is a beautiful piece with silk and velvet. It is also adorned with beaded pieces that are over thirty years old.
At the dressing room of the ensemble cast, all wardrobe is arranged in order of appearance onstage. Using the 'Phantom' blueprint, the wardrobe team blocks the show in running order.
Lungelwa Mdezaki, a Swing Performer, has the integral and difficult role of learning a multitude of parts. Swing Performers are always prepped and ready to go. Everything is set for Lungelwa -- from hair and makeup to costume (she is even vocally warmed up) -- so that in case any one is incapable of continuing a role, she is there immediately to step in.
"No two days are the same, no two shows are the same. That's the beauty of live theater," Bernard Fitzgerald, Head of Props, shares to the media when asked about what he loves about working for the production. Bernard also explains that the activities behind the stage are just as choreographed as what's happening on stage -- scenery being moved, props being moved.
All the pieces on the banquet table, for example, are checked every day, if they are broken or damaged and need replacement or repair.
Bernard presents to us the Hannibal poster at the auction at the start of the show. He had it coated with lacquer to make it look less shiny, and more old.
At the Prompt Corner, Stage Manager Sandie Bekavac shows us different monitor feeds that allow them to observe and cue the proper lighting, sound effects, and machinery. Key people are also located all around the stage wearing headsets to communicate with the person in this corner.
'The Phantom of The Opera' is extending its stay in Manila, adding 16 more shows, and closing on October 14, 2012. For ticket inquiries, please call Ticketworld at (63 2) 891-9999.