Spectacular Phantom of the Opera Returns to Philadelphia’s Academy of Music
Interview with Swing and Dance Captain Adryan Moorefield
There are some love stories that are timeless, and the spectacular current production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” is definitely one of them.
The much-anticipated, triumphant return of this lavish and opulent musical, is gracing the stage of the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music until November 12, and it is the ideal way to begin your holiday celebrations.
With newly reinvented staging, and stunning scenic design, this new version of “Phantom,” is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, which make it one of the largest productions on tour in North America.
Seeing this production of “Phantom” some 25 years after viewing the first production was an opportunity to be dazzled all over, and get lost in the beauty of the emotional love story. This beautiful, powerful and romantic show is about the power of love that lasts a lifetime, and that we should never take anything this precious for granted.
If you have never seen “Phantom,” have only seen the film, or have not seen it for many years, it is definitely worth experiencing this mesmerizing production. Take a deep breath and be prepared to be nothing less than dazzled.
This is the story: From his hideout beneath a 19th Century Paris Opera House, the brooding Phantom schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae. The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide congenital disfigurement, strong-arms the management of the opera company to give the budding starlet key roles. A love triangle ensues when Christine falls for benefactor, Raoul. Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.“It’s wonderful to have a new production of “Phantom” touring America now that the show has celebrated 29 years on Broadway,” Webber recently said. In fact, this show still the reigning champion as the longest-running production on Broadway.
“Director Laurence Connor has done an amazing job,” Webber added, “and this production has [also] received huge critical acclaim in the U.K.”
Cameron Mackintosh said he is delighted that this new production has been “as well-received in the U.S. as the brilliant original, and has already been seen by more than two million people across North America, since it opened in November 2013. With an exciting new design and staging, retaining Maria Björnson’s amazing costumes, the new “Phantom,” is thrilling audiences and critics alike all over again – ‘The Music of the Night,’ is soaring to dazzling new heights.”The creators of the show, as well as arts patrons near and far are raving about this production of “Phantom.” “Fans of the classic production, and new audiences alike will be seduced by Cameron Mackintosh’s remarkable new production, featuring dazzling special effects and wonderful songs that will take you on an emotional ride of romance and intrigue,” said Anne Ewers, president and CEO of the Kimmel Center. “It is a pleasure to welcome the return of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved show to the Kimmel Center Campus for 12 days.”
Adryan Moorefield, a swing member and dance captain, is pleased to be back in Philadelphia, and to talk about his current tour with “Phantom.”
Originally from Dallas, he received his BFA in modern dance performance from the University of Oklahoma, and his Masters in Information Technology and Cyber Security from Florida Institute of Technology. He was a principal dancer with The Philadelphia Dance Company, also affectionately known as Philadanco.
Th 28-year-old Moorefield is thrilled that he joined this production of the show in July 2016, and that it has allowed him to travel around the country and explore cities and towns, and share his dream career journey with friends and family.
The following is an exclusive Q and A with Adryan Moorefield:
What is new about this production of “Phantom?”
ADRYAN MOOREFIELD: It still features the same idea, score and costumes and there is some new staging. It is supposed to be more of a present day world view of an opera company. So it is more of a modern day interpretation of the story.
I know everyone is looking forward to seeing the infamous chandelier.
AM: Yes. But there is also a little bit different staging for it that is also dazzling.
How did you get to this role at this time in your career?
AM: I always wanted to perform on Broadway, and I was trying to find the best way to get there. I knew that I wanted to be well-rounded. So I started dance training and being in the Philadanco Dance Company definitely opened the door for me to get hired for “Phantom.”
You are from Dallas and lived in Philadelphia for a few years. What was your view of Philly before you moved here for the dance company?
AM: I had an idea of the city, the Liberty Bell and the fact that it was such a historic city, and I had read about it before I moved from Texas. But it was so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed living here.
This is your first time coming back to Philly in 16 months. How are you feeling about this?
AM: Coming off the airplane I was hit with a lot of emotions, and recalling vivid memories. I have such a connection to the city now. Many of my friends will be at the show. We have been talking about this for a while.
Where will you be spending time in Philly?
AM: The University City area during my downtime when I am not at the theater for shows or rehearsal. It was kind of the epicenter of my world during the whole time being here.
Is there one place you have traveled to that surprised you?
AM: Yes Boise, Idaho. Growing up in Dallas, I imagined Boise to be lots of farm land. But in fact it was a mixture of urban modern and farm. The people were lovely. It was late June, and the air felt crisp and smelled fresh.
Where is your family living?
AM: They are still in Dallas. My parents came to see the show when it was in Ft. Worth and that was really exciting.
Are you the only member of the family who is a performer?
AM: My parents are music teachers and school principals. They are extremely proud of me.
Were they surprised that you have achieved so many of your career goals?
AM: They are not surprised, but they are thrilled for me. It was a special time for them to see me in a show of this magnitude.
Do you enjoy the educational aspect of your performing arts career?
AM: Yes. I was the artistic director of the youth performing company for Philadanco; and “Phantom” has master classes with cast members. So I have had an opportunity to speak to patrons at luncheons and I do a fair amount of outreach, which is something I enjoy.
What do you do when you’re not working?
AM: Vocal exercises, studying Italian and learning how to write code. So there are plenty of things to keep me occupied.
How long are will you stay in “Phantom?”
AM: A long time. It has opened a door, and has given me many opportunities. This show has been running for nearly 30 years, and I never thought I would get the chance to be in a show of this magnitude and that has this kind of legacy. I want to take advantage of this as long as I possibly can.
Some people prefer movies to theater, and wonder how you keep it fresh night after night?
AM: When I perform I feel that I am bringing a different energy than any other performer, and the people around me are experiencing that energy in a unique way. Sometimes in live theater, things happen. Somebody may get tongue-tied or some other special moment or nuance.
What is a favorite moment of yours in “Phantom?”
AM: I was on stage with the leading actors who play Carlotta and Piangi, who are both an Italian and since I am learning Italian, I started calling out to them in Italian. My cast mates were extremely surprised because they didn’t know that I knew the language. Little things like that happen, and they add extra spice to the flavor of the show.
If I had met you five or 10 years ago and told you this is where you would be in your career what would you have said to me?
AM: That this is my dream, and why does it have to wait five or 10 years? Why can’t it be right now? Once I decided where I want to go, I couldn’t wait to start the journey
What advice do you have for teens or young adults wanting a career in theater, dance or music?
AM: I would definitely tell them to follow their dreams. It is rewarding, but extremely challenging. I would say to get an education because that opens up your options. If you love it, then definitely pursue this. It is hard work and it might seem like the industry is over-saturated, but there is so much to love about it.
Tell me more?
AM: It is a big responsibility to bring joy and happiness to so many people; and if you love it then take it seriously, and put in the time, energy, and hard work then it should all pay off for you. What I would tell them is Go For It!
What does the future look like for you?
AM: I can imagine lots of different possibilities. Being on Broadway and showcasing all of the gifts I have been able to master would be tremendous. If that would open doors to film or TV that would be great. Also, teaching runs in my blood, so that is an option. I am hoping to perform and be a performer for as long as I can. Life is very sweet!
For tickets call: 215-731-3333, visit kimmelcenter.org, or go to the Kimmel Center Box Office.
Official show site: www.ThePhantomOfTheOpera.com