Leighton Park School has taken on the challenge of staging the most commercially successful stage show of all time and produced their most spectacular production ever.
Based on the classic novel “Le Fantôme de l’Opera’ by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera 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 by employing all of the devious methods at his command. Its sensational score includes ‘Think of Me’, ‘Music of The Night’, ‘All I Ask of You’, ‘Masquerade’ and the title song.
The performance is a glorious mixture of melodrama, gothic horror, hauntingly beautiful melodies and classical opera pastiche.It is only in recent years that the performance has been licenced for production in schools and, because of the challenges of the leading roles, design and spectacle, is relatively rarely performed.
“It is a real challenge to ensure the iconic moments live up to the audience’s expectations within the constraints of resources a school has to offer, even Leighton Park, where we have some fantastically talented individuals.” commented Geraint Thomas, Head of Drama and Phantom’s Designer and Stage Director, “Achieving what the show demands is a massive, massive stretch. It’s a hugely demanding, monster of a show requiring extraordinary range from the principals.”
And it’s not just the principals and the cast who have given their all. With 160 costumes, 82 lighting cues, almost 40 stage movements and a 27 piece orchestra in the pit, over 100 students have got involved. Pupils from Year 9 to Year 13 have contributed to the technical crew, choreography, set design, the costumes, make-up as well as the musical and dramatic performances over the four night run from10th to 13th February 2015.
Following the first night’s performance. Musical Director, Rosemary Scales said “We are so very proud of all of our students involved in this production. The standard of singing achieved has far exceeded our expectations and with students also involved in the orchestra this has been an extraordinary effort by all of our talented musicians. 2015 was the year for Phantom because it’s one of the most popular shows of all time and in our 125th anniversary year we wanted to do something truly magnificent.”
Parent, Carolyn Hyde who was in the audience, said “We went to see our first ever Leighton Park production last night. We were truly delighted and impressed by the quality of the whole performance in particular the lead vocalists. A truly “professional” performance from everyone involved. We had a wonderful evening; what a showpiece to demonstrate the ethos and talent of Leighton Park School.“
Dan Barber (Lower Sixth), who plays the Phantom added “Phantom is an epic production and one that I have always wanted to be in. It has fulfilled all of my expectations. Even though the complexities of the part and the stamina required for the role have been physically and emotionally draining, I’m so excited by the prospect of the next few nights on stage.”
Upper Sixth student, Ellie Mead, playing Christine Daaé, said, “Working as part of the Phantom team has been great. Rose and Geraint have been so supportive. Dan and I even had a singing lesson from one of the Christine’s from the original West End show, which was amazing.”
In so many ways, this production is a culmination of a number of year’s work that started with “Grease” in 1997. It has been the perfect choice for this special year for the school, our 125th Anniversary. Music and Drama have always been integral to the school`s ethos. What never changes is the talent, dedication and energy of our magnificent cast, crew and orchestra.