North Central College - Naperville, IL

College among first in nation to present "The Phantom of the Opera"

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Contact: Nancy Dunker, associate director of public relations, 630-637-5306

Oct. 4, 2010--North Central College students will perform Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterwork "The Phantom of the Opera" Nov. 4-7. An international phenomenon and the longest-running musical in Broadway history, "The Phantom" unmasks emotions like no other show can, leaving audiences breathless.

North Central is one of the first colleges in the nation to present "The Phantom of the Opera." The rights for production were recently made available for educational institutions and director Brian Lynch, North Central's fine arts director, seized the opportunity right away.

"We were delighted when we could be among the first to produce this show. We have an absolutely talented cast and all have amazing voices. We've doublecast two Christines and Carlottas because the roles are demanding and we have the talent. The ladies playing these parts are talented enough to do this professionally right now and perform the standard eight shows a week."

Six performances of "The Phantom" will be staged at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4; 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 5-7; and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6-7, in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets are $15/adults and $10/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit www.northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

The musical is composed by Webber, with lyrics by Charles Hart and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, and a book by Webber and Stilgoe. Based on the classic novel "Le Fantôme de l'Opéra" by Gaston Leroux, the play tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and using all of the devious methods at his command. Its dramatic score includes "Think of Me," "Angel of Music," "Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Masquerade" and the title song.

Webber's musical version of "The Phantom" is the most successful piece of entertainment of all time, produced in any media, and its success is continuing worldwide. It premiered in London in 1986 and is still running at Her Majesty's Theatre. It opened in New York City in 1988 and in January 2006 became Broadway's longest-running show ever when it overtook the record set by "Cats." The musical has won more than 50 major theater awards, including three Olivier Awards and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Director, Best Actor and Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

A movie version of Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" was released in 2004 and included a new song, "Learn to Be Lonely," that was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2005 Oscars.

10-04-2010