Monday, September 27, 2010

"After the chandelier drops"

After the chandelier drops on the Halloween night performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" at the Pantages Theatre, the show's cast members will be looking for their next gig after years, and in at least one case, decades, of job security with the venerable musical.

"Does The Times have any openings?" asks Tim Martin Gleason, who has been with "Phantom" on tour, on Broadway and in Las Vegas since 2001 as a member of the ensemble, the romantic interest Raoul and, for the last 16 months, as the tortured, masked Phantom.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe musical based on the Gaston Leroux classic is still going strong on Broadway in its 23rd year. But its producers say the national tour is coming to an end.

"Phantom" has been on the road since 1989, when it opened with the original Broadway lead actor, Michael Crawford, at the Ahmanson. The first national tour, dubbed the Christine Company, played L.A. and San Francisco for 10 years. The second national tour, which producers called the Raoul tour, ran for 8 1/2 years in major cities. The current tour, known as the Music Box Company, will have played some 7,284 performances over 18 years.

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