The Phantom of the Opera returns to Houston once again, this time in a new production by Cameron Macintosh but with the same Andrew Lloyd Webber classic music.
Eva Tavares will be singing the role of Christine, the beautiful orphan who has transitioned from her role as a dancer in the chorus to singing center stage at the Paris Opera House after the diva Carlotta quits suddenly, frightened by a falling backdrop and other unsettling occurrences at the opera house — attributed by many to the Phantom of the Opera.
The Phantom, wearing his iconic half mask to hide his disfigurement, has been Christine's unseen mentor as she develops her voice. As it turns out, he is also in love with her in most possessive fashion. Much of the story concerns Christine and how she responds to the Phantom's actions and his sad situation. "She has an amazing arc throughout the show," Tavares says. "She really does change so much. She really is such a kind-hearted woman who really finds her strength in the face of adversity."
Tavares, who comes from Vancouver, Canada, says she feels a lot in common with her character since she started out as a dancer when she was 2-1/2 years old before transitioning to musical theater later. She comes by her talents naturally. "My grandma was an opera singer. My mother was a choreographer," she says. She still keeps a foot in the dance world; recently she choreographed Die Fledermaus for the Vancouver Opera and has choreographed burlesque as well.
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The Phantom of the Opera, now 32 years old, has been brought back to Houston by Mischer Neurosciences Broadway at the Hobby Center. The cast boasts 52 members, making it one of the largest productions on tour.
Its most memorable songs include “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “Masquerade.”
What is new is the scenic design by Paul Brown, new choreography by Scott Ambler, and new staging by director Laurence Connor.
"I think it’s an amped-up version of the things you know and love,"Tavares says. "You're going to see all those things plus more fire, plus different sets. The treatment of the audio is different. There might be certain things that might not be there from the original, but you’ll find something in its place that’s really more exciting and gritty. I really do feel that our production serves the story in a new and exciting way and it's exciting for people to see that and reac to thatt."
Performances are scheduled for November 7-18 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-3152525 or 800-982-2787 or visit thehobbycenter.org or broadwayatthehobbycenter.com. $55-$165.