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Phantom Comes to Western

Missouri Western’s Department of Music will be teaming up with the Department of Communication Studies and Theater and the Department of Art to bring Phantom to campus this week. Performances will be 7:30 pm March 3 through 5, and 3 pm March 6 in Potter Hall Theater. Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, Phantom is Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston’s new take on the hit musical The Phantom of the Opera made famous by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

In this tale, young farm girl Christine Daae journeys to Paris to fulfill her dream of performing at the Paris Opera House. She is given lessons by Erik, the mysterious Phantom who lives in the catacombs beneath the opera house. Her voice is so beautiful that the Phantom falls in love with her. This may seem to follow the traditional Phantom of the Opera plot, but there are several key differences.

Dr. Susan Carter, director of vocal studies and associate professor of music, said that although the main idea is the same, Kopit and Yeston have added some changes.

“They’re both based on the same book,” Carter said, “There’s some difference in the characters. Webber’s Christine is a ballet dancer, and in [Phantom] she’s a composer. She’s bringing her songs to Paris and she’s singing them.”

In addition to Christine’s variation, characters like the Phantom’s mother have been added in certain scenes. Although the romance and mystery remain, the story seems to unfold differently than before.

Dr. Carter believes this production will appeal to Western students and residents of St. Joseph alike.

“[The students] will find the same things they find in Transformers and Twilight,” Carter said, “There’s the young romantic couple. There’s that teen angst. The community will see true life in it. And older people will remember the first love they see in Christine.”

Because the role is so big and requires so much work, Christine will be performed by two different students. Freshman Adrienne Collins and sophomore Morgan Breckenridge will each play the part two nights.

Collins has worked with the theater department here at Western even before she started attending as a student. She was already familiar with Webber’s version of the musical, and was excited to work on Kopit and Yeston’s adaptation.

“I thought it was beautiful, and something I’d like to be a part of,” Collins said, “Seeing so many people come together and work so hard is really inspiring.”

Breckenridge was asked to audition by Dr. Carter. As a vocal student, she saw a great opportunity to put her hard work to the test and has continued to work hard on this role.

“[The role] is very challenging vocally,” Breckenridge said, “There are lots of difficult things you have to learn how to do and be comfortable doing in front of a crowd.” 

Breckenridge said working with the cast has been the most enjoyable experience.

“It’s helped me find my place,” Breckenridge said, “It’s reassured me that music is what I really want to do.”

Tickets are on sale now at Adults pay $10, seniors and Western employees pay $8, and Western students get in for $5. For more information, email questions to or call 816-271-5923.

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