The presentation by Ron and Irene (who was also artistic director) was truly amazing. Ron brought along the mask and his characteristic hat. Ron outlined many of rge challenges of bring the Phantom of the Opera production to Whyalla which he described as "bigger than Ben Hur" and had a huge budget. Ron reiterated that the show could not have gone on without the generosity of sponsors in the Whyalla community, the State Opera and ANON. Just goes to show what a community can do. They would love to have people who can sew if a costume gets damaged.
Ron did not have an understudy so it was fortunate that he did not catch the flu at that time.
Ron had his beard shaved for the show- this raised $741.00 for the Little Heroes Foundation. Ron's singing at our meeting was truly amazing, there were several encores. "Italian vowels anyone?" State Opera is planning some workshops at Roxby Downs-watch out Sandy.
Amateur groups have been allowed to do this production since May 2012 and Timothy Sexton, the CEO and Artistic Director of the State Opera SA helped Whyalla to stage the Phantom.Matt Byrne, the Producer of the Adelaide Production also helped from May 2013. The budget was in Ronís estimation 12 times the next biggest that the Middleback Theatre has ever produced.Even when advertising the upcoming event, the owners had to be paid a fee on top of the actual advertising costs. Then of course Royalties of 20% of the takings had to go to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
As an example of what the major sponsors put in, the State Opera put a line in their own budget of $20,000 in their budget for the year to help, and if Ron and Irene had charged for their time, it would have been a fee of $22,000. Some of the major and minor sponsors were private lovers of musicals.There were 35 members of the cast, 12 backstage, 14 musicians and conductor,and technical crew like fire warden, electrician etc for a total of 80 people. Some of the technical crew achieved their construction safety cards while learning the ropes.45 extra people were vocally trained by Timothy Sexton through the high schools while training the cast.
Putting on the make-up for Ron as the Phantom took 90 minutes and 256 batteries were used and discarded for the microphones to stage the production. It took four assistants only 45 seconds to change Christine's costume off-stage and they did this whilst she was still singing!in 45 seconds while she kept on singing!
Irene added that "You can teach a singer to act (in Ronís case) but you canít teach an actor to sing". The vocal arrangement was based on the Michael Crawford performances.
We wait with baited breath for their next production..