DENVER (CBS4) – More than 30 years after debuting in London, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” returns to Denver as part of its revamped North America tour. The show is filled with new costumes, props, set design and pyrotechnics.
The updates to the iconic chandelier, known as “Chandy,” have also become a major part of the performance. Until Nov. 17, Chandy will be on display while the tour stays in Denver.
The secrets behind the moving chandelier and the intricate stage are often kept secret from the public. However, a group of teenagers in the Denver Center of the Performing Arts’ “Teen Company” were given an exclusive look behind the scenes. The students welcomed CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Teen Company is a group of aspiring actors, singers and talented teenagers who find interest in theatrical production. The group was taken into the Buell Theatre with Assistant Stage Manager Lizz Bender. Bender fielded questions from the teenagers, giving away many secrets of the stage.
The chandelier, in total, weighs more than 4,000 pounds. A team of engineers travel to each city before the production arrives to make sure the facility can withstand the demands of the production.
The revolving walls, which play a center role in the movement and progression of the musical, weigh more than 10,000 pounds. Dozens of local workers are hired to assemble the operation.
Vinny Falk and Mariam Faal are part of the Teen Company. The duo took special interest in the show as they were both recently cast as “The Phantom” and “Christine Daae” in their own production.
“It was incredible. I was like, ‘Oh my God. This chandelier is so iconic. I can’t believe I got to see it so close,’” Faal said. “People usually think the (actors) are the stars of the show. But, the chandelier shows another side to that.”
“It is just so big and so grand. It was really cool to see it up close,” Falk said.
While the teens were amazed by the workings of the set and crew, a highlight was getting the chance to meet Derrick Davis, the lead “Phantom” in the tour. Dozens of the Teen Company members were able to ask him questions about his life, his role as Phantom and even career advice.
Both Faal and Falk said the message they most valued in the meeting was to keep pursuing your ambition, even when times are difficult.
“I wish (my mentors) would have told me, ‘If you love it, you are going to do it anyway. But, it is not going to be easy, and it is not as glamorous at it looks. It is a lot more work than glamour,’” Davis told the teens.
“I feel like that was really valuable because it is not all just glitter and rainbows,” Falk said.
“It’s not all going to be easy. There is a lot of work that goes in to (succeeding on Broadway,)” Faal said.
While tours behind the scenes are not open to the public, the show itself is.
LINK: The Phantom of the Opera