Grand Theatre Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the High School Project with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera
Tickets now available for current Grand Theatre Subscribers
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Charles Hart
Additional Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe
Book by Richard Stilgoe & Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on the novel “Le Fantôme de I’Opéra” by Gaston Leroux
Originally directed by Harold Prince
Orchestrations by David Cullen & Andrew Lloyd Webber
Original Production by Cameron Mackintosh Ltd. and The Really Useful Group Ltd.
Directed by Andrew Tribe
On the Spriet Stage
September 19 - October 7
Opening September 22
Title Sponsor: Western Fair District
Program Sponsors: Thames Valley District School Board & London District Catholic School Board
January 30, 2023 – London ON – After 24 ground-breaking seasons, the Grand Theatre’s renowned youth mentorship program, the High School Project (HSP) will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the longest running show in Broadway history: Andrew Lloyd’s Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Masquerading on to the Spriet Stage from September 19th through October 7th, the Grand welcomes back two-time HSP director and alumnus, Andrew Tribe as director to lead the silver anniversary production.
Reflecting on this momentous year for the High School Project, Grand Theatre Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum says: “In 1998, a revolutionary, only-of-its-kind program was born right here in London, Ontario: the High School Project. Its mission was simple, but necessary: ensure young people had access to the liberating and transformative power of the arts. 25 years, 38 productions, and thousands of students later, we celebrate the anniversary of this extraordinary program by staging a production never seen before on the Grand’s stage: The Phantom of the Opera. It will be an incredible spectacle and it will be one for the history books!”
The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a notorious masked figure, known as the Phantom, who lurks in the catacombs – far beneath the majestic Paris Opera House. A disfigured musical genius, the Phantom exercises a reign of terror and control over all who enter “his” opera house – including an innocent, young soprano. Mesmerized by her beauty and talent, the Phantom desires nothing more than to see her become a star of the operatic stage and to remain with him at the Opera for all time. And the consequences for anyone who stands in his way? Deadly.
The Phantom of the Opera premiered in London's West End in 1986 and on Broadway in New York City in 1988. A multiple award-winning musical, the production won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical. A film adaptation, directed by Joel Schumacher, was released in 2004. The Phantom of the Opera is currently the longest running show in Broadway history, which has sold 19.8 million tickets and grossed $1.3 billion. After 35 years, the Broadway production is scheduled to close on April 16, 2023.
“Phantom’s historic 35-year run on Broadway ends this April. But this pop culture phenomenon lives on with the Grand Theatre’s High School Project,” exclaims HSP Director, Andrew Tribe. “Londoners can expect the essence of what makes Phantom so special, but also with a few new surprises — all dressed in beautiful Grand style and with a youthful vitality that only students can bring.”
For the Grand’s 25th anniversary High School Project production of The Phantom of the Opera, Grand audiences will experience one of the most spectacular shows in the Project’s history. It will feature approximately 50 students onstage and 20 students behind-the-scenes to take on roles, such as: stage management, props, wardrobe, scenic art, orchestra, sound, and entertainment marketing.
The Grand Theatre encourages students in London and area to audition for this special season of the High School Project – with registration opening on February 17th. On March 25th-26th, the Grand will host audition workshops at the Theatre. These complimentary workshops are designed to build comfort and confidence in students, both who are new and familiar with the audition process. Auditions for on-stage roles will be held after school April 12th – 14th and the weekend of April 15th - 16th. Students interested in performing on-stage in a singing role will audition for the Director, Music Director, and/or Choreographer. Please prepare an excerpt from a traditional Broadway song, maximum of two minutes, similar in style to The Phantom of the Opera. No monologue will be required for this audition. Ballet dance call and invited call-backs will take place April 22nd – 24th. Interviews for a variety of compelling and vital backstage roles will take place in late April. Rehearsals will begin August 8th.
The High School Project is open to any high school student from the London and area who will be enrolled in High School in the fall of 2023, or participating in homeschooling, and as such ages generally range from 14-18.
THE HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT (HSP)
An acclaimed mentorship program unique in North America, the HSP began in 1998 with West Side Story. Since then, the Grand Theatre has produced 38 High School Projects.
The HSP offers an exceptional opportunity for students to receive education and training in the working environment of a professional theatre, at no cost to the participants. High school students from the London area are mentored by professional artists and coaches in all departments (performance, stage management, props, wardrobe, scenic art, orchestra, sound, and entertainment marketing), culminating in a production on the Grand's Spriet Stage. The initiative provides leadership, creative skills, and communication aptitude that serve these students on and off stage - in every area of their lives.
A true testament to the strength of the program, and the promise of London’s youth, a number of generous, London organizations have already come forward to support the 25th anniversary of the High School Project. The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges Season Sponsor BMO, Title Sponsor, Western Fair District, and Program Sponsors Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board.
Tickets for the 25th anniversary High School Project: The Phantom of the Opera will be available on January 30th for current subscribers, March 21st for new subscribers, and May 8th for single ticket buyers.
To learn more about the Grand Theatre’s 25th High School Project production: The Phantom of the Opera, please visit: grandtheatre.com/high-school-project . Additional facts, photos, and updates can also be found by following @thegrandlondon and #GrandPhantom on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Grand Theatre wishes to acknowledge and honour the original stewards of the land on which our Theatre stands. Gratitude and recognition are extended to the Attawandaron (also known as Neutral), Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Lunaapewak peoples for preserving this land where we gather and create art.
About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud.
In the heart of downtown London, Ontario lies one of Canada’s oldest regional theatres and a leading cultural hub of today: the Grand Theatre. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Evan Klassen, the Grand proudly presents diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe – and around the corner – on its two stages. The not-for-profit theatre is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. Further, it is an ardent supporter of educational programming, as demonstrated through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. For more information, visit: grandtheatre.com.
For more information please contact:
Caitlin Core, Communications Manager
ccore [at] grandtheatre.com (ccore[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
519-672-9030 ext. 266