Yavapai College Performing Arts Department presents: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’
After the Yavapai College Performing Arts Department put on “Beauty and the Beast” last year, Dr. Craig Ralston, associate dean of performing arts, said he was considering what to do next.
As a joke, one of his assistants suggested “The Phantom of the Opera.”
“I was like, ‘that’s hilarious, we can’t do ‘Phantom,’ you can’t get the rights. It’s been in New York and London for 32 years and it tours the world,” Ralston said. “We looked on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s site and the one clause says the rights can be given to an educational institution.”
The rights were granted in 24 hours, he said. He was taken aback, now he had to direct the show, Ralston said.
Planning started in January, the production was rented in May and there was a hard push to keep tackling it over the summer, he said.
“On some levels, we were ready early,” Ralston said. It’s given everyone a confidence level that we wouldn’t have had normally if we’d started the show at the beginning of the school year in August.”
With nearly 180 people working on the show, it’s thrilling to see the community of actors and crew members come together, he said.
Showtimes are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 14-15, and Thursday through Saturday Nov. 21-23, and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16-17 and Sunday, Nov. 24. All shows are at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St.
Since the rights ask that this show does not copy Broadway, some things are going to be different, Ralston said. With costuming, rather than taking all the ideas from 32 years ago, the design team has updated the colors and gone in different directions, he said. It still stays in character but with a fresh color and fresh palette, Ralston said.
While there are a couple of other things that can’t be done at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, like using real fire, the Yavapai College Performing Arts Department hasn’t compromised as far as some of the excitement that’s created with the effect, he said.
“We have the chandelier and it’s pretty much very similar to the New York and London one that this theatrical company owns,” Ralston said, adding that the lighting, staging, backdrops, costuming and orchestra is “still going to give them that incredible surge of theater at its best.”
A challenge to putting on “The Phantom of the Opera” is that the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center has such a large stage to fill, Ralston said. Most performing houses around the world have narrower stages with a taller thrust while this one has a shorter thrust and is very wide, he said. There’s always a challenge in building set pieces and figuring out the perspective of the audience and how they’re going to view the set, Ralston said.
Still, he said he loves being a director and seeing people where they are with their talents and abilities and how they can move forward and transform.
“I love integrating with the cast and training them and watching them grow and really shape artistically a beautiful work,” Ralston said. “Yes, the costumes and the set and all that, that’s the fun stuff but working with people and seeing their talents transform, that’s the joy for me.”
Tickets start at $25, with $10 youth tickets available, available online at www.ycpac.com, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center Box Office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 928-776-2000.
It’s a thoroughly entertaining show with outstanding talent and a gripping story, Ralston said. It’s tragic, but there always has to be that tragic element in a story to keep you engaged, he said.
“They will not be disappointed,” Ralston said. “They’ll see a show that literally competes with any major city.”
For more information about the Yavapai College Performing Arts Department’s production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” visit www.ycpac.com.