By Marah Jo Heikkila
The “Phantom of the Opera” production has been loved by millions for over the years. The traveling production of “Phantom” put on by The Music Box company has given people all over the world a chance to experience the magic it brings. Beyond being so mesmerizing and captivating, there is so much unseen work and dedication that goes on behind the curtain. Over twenty semi trucks carry the show from city to city. Within the trucks there are over sixty gondola closets of just costumes alone!
Frankie Fehr, the companies costume supervisor oversees the wardrobe for the whole cast. Julie Kennedy is the assistant wardrobe supervisor, and Dawna Ellis' position is strictly to prepare and care for Christine's costumes. Yes, it is a full time job.
The ladies took time away from their personal day to educate a room full of people about the dedication that goes into taking care of the costumes for “Phantom”. Being that Broadway shows normally run for about two years, it is not as difficult to keep the conditioning and renovation of the costumes to a certain standard.
However, this show has been running for almost eighteen years! So it is imperative that the costumes be made to the highest standard and kept up to the standard of perfection. “Sumptuous and sensual” is what Frankie Fehr wants to express about the costumes. In seeing the production personally, that is exactly what you get! The costumes and wardrobe are absolutely stunning.
There is an enormous staff that makes sure costumes are to perfection before every single performance. Four to six hours a day before the show, seamstress' are on staff to ensure that every bead, thread, ribbon, button, sequence and everything else on the costume is at it's full potential. The precise work is a true art. Hand painting, fine silks, glass and crystal beads are only some of the tools used to create and maintain these breathtaking costumes.
Upon my learning of all that goes on with the costumes and backstage, I definitely have an even greater respect for the production. Every step is taken to ensure that every patron within the audience experiences “Phantom” to the fullest potential of it's pure perfection. They want patrons not only view “Phantom” but experience “Phantom”. This Broadway show is truly magical.
Sadly, this production is coming to an end. If you have the opportunity to see any of the performances and be a part of history, do so! It will continue to tour the United States throughout the year and will then end with a finale' performance in Los Angeles, California in October 2010, bringing this magical Broadway love story to an end.
Marah Jo Heikkila is 12-years-old and attends Olivet Middle School. She just completed the 6th grade and she is Phantom of the Opera’s most dedicated pre teen fan!!!
This was originally printed in the June 20, 2010 - July 3, 2010 edition.