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Broadway in the Classroom

“The Phantom of the Opera” visits Theatre and Dance

Students gather in the Bass Concert Hall lounge

In coordination with Texas Performing Arts' Campus and Community Engagement program, students from the Department of Theatre and Dance have had an exciting week filled with unique opportunities to meet and work with members of the The Phantom of the Opera touring company.

On Tuesday, March 29, The Phantom of the Opera Music Director/Conductor, Jonathan Gorst, joined Denny Berry (B.F.A. Drama, UT), Production Dance Supervisor for the US productions and Associate Choreographer for worldwide productions of Phantom, on the fourth floor lounge of the Bass Concert Hall as they talked with students from Lyn Koenning's and Natasha Davison's collaborative musical theatre course. Afterwards, Lyn hosted Natasha, Denny, and Jonathan in a visit to the UT Club where they enjoyed a moment to relax before heading their separate ways for the evening; the Phantom team to that night's performance, and the UT team to The Difficulty of Crossing a Field rehearsal. Lyn, Music Director/Conductor of Difficulty will use Friday's night off from rehearsal to be a guest in the Phantom pit as she enjoys the performance from a slightly different angle than that of the average audience member!

Denny Berry addresses students

On Wednesday, March 24, students of James Glavan and Susan Mickey took a backstage tour with Phantom company members Frankie Fehr, wardrobe head, and Karen Dickenson, hair supervisor, for an up-close view of Phantom costume, make-up, wig, and millinery materials.

Also on Wednesday, Nancy Hess, currently playing “Madame Giry”, visited Natasha Davison's “Broadway Jazz” dance class to demonstrate and teach Fosse choreography from Chicago. Ms. Hess has list of impressive credits on Broadway including having played both “Roxie Hart” and “Velma Kelly” in the Broadway production of Chicago.

Lyn Koenning, Denny Berry, Natasha Davison enjoy a break at the UT Club

The production components experienced early in the week came together on Thursday, April 1, as students were invited to attend a rehearsal to observe Denny Berry's work with a new cast member. In the same afternoon, Lyn and her class hosted a Q&A session with Kelly Jeanne Grant, one of the actors who portrays “Christine.”

The Phantom of the Opera runs through Sunday April 4 at Texas Performing Arts' Bass Concert Hall. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit texasperformingarts.org.