Phantom Of The Opera

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera, it’s certainly the most well known show that I’ve done in my career.  It just became the only show on Broadway to surpass the 25 year mark.  It is the longest running Broadway show!  Yes, I know what you’re thinking…I was 2 when I got the job of Meg back in 1988…or at least I was hoping you were thinking that!

I was living in Los Angeles at the time just having finished filming the last year of the series Fame in which I played the character Jillian.  I got a call from an old friend of mine telling me this new show was coming to Broadway and they were having trouble finding the “Meg” character.  She needed to be able to sing, act and dance…on point!

Having been in LA for the last year, I was completely out of the Broadway scene, but I called my agent and they got me an audition.  I packed up and jumped on a plane the next day.  I went to the audition, danced, sang and read a scene from the show and then I flew back home the next morning.    When I walked in the door there was my answering machine blinking (no cell phones back then).  I listened to the message as I started to unpack my suitcase and it was my agent saying they wanted me back in New York for a callback!

I made another reservation for a round trip although this time I was going to spend the whole weekend since the callback was on a Friday.    Then I called my agents to make sure this was the last and final callback as it was getting a bit expensive!  They assured me it was.

This time when I arrived in the city I noticed on the buses and all of the telephone booths an ad with a white mask on a black background.  No copy at all, just the mask.  Then I started noticing them all over the city.   This was some ingenious advertising.  Talk about leaving them wanting more.  I guess this show “Phantom of the Opera” was going to be a pretty big deal.

Again I sang, danced and read for a roomful of people.  Afterwards they brought me back into the room and explained that I would have to sing for Andrew Lloyd Webber…at his apartment…in Trump towers the next day.

Needless to say I got absolutely no sleep that night.  I arrive at Andrew’s front door.  A woman answers and ushers me in to the most amazing apartment (more like mansion) I’d ever seen.  I walk in to the studio where there sits Andrew Lloyd Weber at the piano with Hal Prince next to him.  I give him my music as he himself played for me and as I’m singing I’m wondering if they can hear my knee caps shaking.  He then had me sing a bit from the score and then said “Thank you”.

I walked out a bit stunned thinking that was kind of cool, but I guess I didn’t get it.  So my boyfriend and I decided to rent a car and head to Atlantic City to blow off some of my nerves.  That night I happened to call the woman I was staying with in the city and she said that Johnson/Liff (the casting office for Phantom of the Opera) was trying to get a hold of me.  They wanted me to be at Chelsea studios on Monday morning.

But I was flying home on Monday!  I had no idea what was going on.  And it was Sunday so I couldn’t get a hold of my agents or the casting office to find out what this meant!

I show up Monday morning and there were about 100 people in the room.  Now I had even less idea what was going on and frankly I was too embarrassed to ask.

The Stage Manager explained that, one by one, everyone will stand and introduce themselves and say what character they will be playing.  So, we all sat down in a big circle and proceeded with the introductions.  They were all very confident in the knowledge of what roles they were playing.   So, when it came to me I said, “I’m Elisa and I think I might be playing the role of Meg, but I’m not sure?”  A burst of laughter erupted.

At that point the Stage Manager took me over and introduced me to Cameron McIntosh.  Apparently, he was the last person who had to sign off on me before I could officially be hired.  Thankfully he did and I was off and running.

It was one of the most exciting six months of my life.  Everyone who was anyone came to see the show from British Royalty to Michael Jackson.   They would keep us all on stage after the show so that they could meet us all and shake our hands (or bow in the case of Royalty).  It was a little like a receiving line at a wedding every single night for the first 6 months.

Here I am 25 (or so) years later.  Who knew?  I guess maybe Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber and Cameron McIntosh know how to put on a show!

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phantom of the opera

 

phantom of the opera

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