Phantom Up Close With Nick Cartell
“Do you remember your first time?” reads one of the famous taglines from Broadway’s longest running musical: The Phantom of The Opera. Just a few short weeks ago the record-setting show turned the ripe age of 26 years old clocking in more than 11,000 performances at the Majestic Theater. The theater has been home to many notable productions since it’s original opening night in 1927: Carousel, South Pacific, Camelot, The Music Man and The Wiz. Beyond all of these iconic productions I think it’s safe to say that the theater will always be most well known as the home of The Phantom of The Opera.
Since the musical launched on London’s West End in 1986 it has spawned productions in over 30 countries and has been translated into over 13 different languages. One of the long-running sit down productions was at the Pantages Theater in Toronto, Canada for over a decade. It was here that I, to use the tagline, had “my first time”.
In sixth grade we took a school field trip to nearby Toronto, Canada to take in the landmarks and sights of the city. At the precious age of eleven years old I hadn’t yet been exposed to enough theatre to devote my life to it. I certainly had an interest in it but it wouldn’t take over my life until a few years later when I entered high school. On our itinerary was a trip to the Pantages to see the “new” production of Phantom with a talk-back after the show. Sitting here in front of my computer I can still feel the flames from the graveyard scene in ACT II of the performance. I can still remember seeing all of those candles rise through the floor for the first time. I can still recall the wardrobe woman describing how many loads of laundry she would have to do before each show! It blew my mind to hear all of the impressive facts of how the show “worked” each day. It was definitely a theatrical experience that stuck with me for many years.
I remember taking a photo in front of the marquee just prior to the show. It took me a while to rummage through a slew of old photos, but I finally found it! I can tell you that I remember almost every detail from that “first time” seeing Phantom but what I don’t remember is why turtlenecks ever seemed like a great idea. Between my turtleneck, my parted hair and the oversized old man’s sweater… I was a sight for sore eyes!
One of the many productions of The Phantom of The Opera currently playing worldwide is the “Spectacular and New” national tour here in the U.S. This production features updated special effects, new costumes and set design and a phenomenal cast. A friend of BUC, Nick Cartell, has been touring with this new production since it’s inception. To celebrate the 26th anniversary of the Broadway production I thought it would be fun to get “up close” with Nick about his time spent with the show. That interview follows below.
Happy 26th Birthday Phantom!
See you on the sidewalks!