Theater Info for the St. Louis region

Nerinx Hall High School The Phantom of the Opera

By • Nov 23rd, 2011 • Category: Cappies

Nerinx Hall proves the power of the music of the night in The Phantom of the Opera.

A freak of nature, more monster than man, his deformed face half-covered by a tiny white mask, an opera house ghost so desperate for love he would nearly crush his angel of music with an illuminating chandelier. Slowly gently, night unfurled its splendor in Nerinx Hall’s performance of the iconic musical The Phantom of the Opera.

Based on Gaston Leroux’s book, and later adapted into a Broadway musical with music by the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera holds the title of the longest running show in Broadway’s history. The production has been adapted into film various times, including the most recent 2004 film adaptation starring Gerard Butler. An estimated 130 million people or more have seen the world-renowned show. The plot centers on an aspiring opera singer, Christine, in love with the handsome Raoul. However, she finds herself bound to her angel of music, the tragically outcast Phantom. The Phantom, who lives in a mystical liar, haunts the opera house in which Christine sings, in order to hear the voice that can heal the pain he feels beneath his mask. The genuine love-triangle combined with enchanting music, leaves no doubt of the influence the Tony-Award winning show holds.

Evan Fornachon brilliantly took on the demanding title role. Fornachon’s emotions were consistently strong, even as he surrounded the opera house solely with his voice. His rendition of the classic song “The Music of the Night” was goosebump-worthy as were all of his powerhouse vocal performances. Alongside Fornachon, Carolyn Cowling impressed as the soprano wonder, Christine. Her angelic voice worked elegantly with both Fornachon as well as Joe Essig who portrayed Raoul. Essig and Cowling showed their incredible chemistry in the stunning performance of “All I Ask of You.” Scenes featuring the terrific trio of leads brought chills to the audience as each impeccable voice complimented the next.

Notable supporting performances include the arrogant but overly talented Carlotta, played by Natalie Hunt. Hunt gave a nearly pitch perfect operatic score. Michael Schimmele, as lead opera singer Piangi, brought the needed comedic relief to such a serious show. Allie Luecke and Tim Eidman each showed off amazing voices in their roles as the opera house managers Madame Andre and Monsieur Firmin.

The technical aspects of the production were for the most part spot on. The entire stage crew should be applauded for their flawlessly silent transitions, which were undeniably challenging due to the elaborate and multi-layered set.

Despite challenges with sound, including microphone feedback, as well as difficulty staying together in various dance numbers, the music, from vocals to orchestrations, overpowered these struggles, clearly stealing the night.

Nerinx Hall successfully proved the power of the music of the night, boasting near professional vocal numbers in a heartfelt rendition of The Phantom of the Opera that will forever live on inside your minds.

by Mia Kweskin of Parkway Central High School

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