Phantom of the Opera Challenge – Day 26

Favorite Phantom Item You Own

This is a hard one, to be honest.  There’s the mask autographed by Franc d’Ambrosio, the custom jewelry by Stephanie Piro, and even the autographed photo of Gerard Butler in the Red Death costume.

At the end of the day it came down to this item.  Several years ago, the props and costumes from the 2004 film were sold in a charity auction.  I won the mask that Monsieur Reyer (Murray Melvin) wore in the “Masquerade” sequence.  Not only is it a delightful piece of memorabilia, but the money was in a good cause:  the funds went to a battered women’s shelter.


Watch for the conductor and you’ll see the mask!



Phantom of the Opera Challenge – Day 24

Well, we’re in the home stretch of this 30th anniversary celebration.  Let’s see what today brings:

Favorite Phantom-related YouTube video

I suspect that many people have never seen this, to be honest.  Before mounting the original production, Andrew Lloyd Weber created a couple of promotional videos with songs he’d completed.  This is the original version of “Phantom of the Opera,” performed by Steve Harley, lead vocalist of Cockney Rebel, and Sarah Brightman.

Balfa Brothers – La Danse de Mardi Gras

Hi, everyone.  Today is Mardi Gras, so I thought I would share some images from the Cajun version of the celebration, as referenced in this snippet from my award-winning novel, Bayou Fire:

M&M frt Verson 1Diana went back inside for a few minutes to scribble some notes about the food and music. When she walked by the fireplace, she noticed a number of photos on the mantel and went to investigate them. One of them was a much younger Amos, in a rather peculiar tassel-covered shirt and matching pointed hat, riding a black horse. A strand of large wooden beads circled his neck, draping down his chest.

“That’s Cajun Mardi Gras,” Annie said, coming up behind her. “It’s not like what they do over in New Orleans. Out here, all the men dress in traditional costumes and ride horses from house to house, trying to get the women to give up something for the gumbo pot. At the end, everyone puts the ingredients together and there’s a big batch of soup to share. Amos was always one of the best riders, with those long legs of his. That black mare belonged to a neighbor, and they’d always let Amos borrow her for Mardi Gras. Every year he managed to get some woman to give up the chicken; we said he just batted his eyelashes and that was all she wrote. The chicken was the big prize for the stew pot.”

“That’s fascinating,” Diana said. “Thank you!” It seemed that Amos was even more multi-talented than she’d thought.

She followed Annie back outside. There, Amos, Harmon, and Billy were singing an a cappella song in French. Diana was able to understand only about half of it, something about the keys to the prison, but it didn’t matter. The three of them sounded marvelous together.


Phantom of the Opera Challenge – Day 19

Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, 25th Anniversary Concert

Have you seen the 25th anniversary concert?  If so, what was your opinion?

My husband and I went on a double date  to the original simulcast, and I don’t even know how many times I’ve watched the DVD or seen the production on PBS.

Frankly, I loved it.  This was the proverbial all-star cast, from the beginning with Earl Carpenter as the auctioneer to the encores featuring original cast members Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, among many others.

Here is a snippet from the encore, with Ramin Karimloo, Anthony Warlow, John Owen-Jones, Colm Wilkinson, and Peter Jöbeck.