‘Phantom’ returns to San DiegoEntertainment Feature, Entertainment News, Section 4A Thursday, October 1st, 2015
Meet Katie Travis and Storm Lineberger from the National Tour cast of this spectacular new production
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, opened in London in 1986 and opened on Broadway in 1988.
The show has won its share of both Tony and Olivier Awards and is still running in New York City. It has been seen in 145 cities and 27 countries. So the question is have you seen it and if not why?
The new revamped Phantom of the Opera hit the road November 2013 and has been going strong since then and will hit the San Diego Civic Theatre Oct. 7 and will close Oct. 18.
For those of you who may not know what the show is about Phantom of the Opera is based on the classic French novel by Gaston Leroux. It tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House bringing terror to anyone who enters the theater.
The masked figure falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, and decides to devote himself to nurture her talents. He will stop at nothing until she becomes the star he envisions.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s then wife Sarah Brightman originally played Christine, the young soprano, and one is being played in the National Tour by Katie Travis.
Travis, a long time Phantom fan, has wanted to play the role since she was 4-years-old. Yes, you read that right.
“When I was four, I saw the show in Toronto,” Travis admitted. “It’s pretty exciting because we will be back there in a few months. My brother and I would sing Phantom around the house, and I used to write in my journal in elementary school about being an actress someday. I continued to study voice and trained at Interlochen growing up, heading in more of an opera direction. But after many years of training, auditioning in New York and working more odd jobs than you could imagine, I’m finally here playing Christine. It’s a true joy.”
The talents of Travis are many and varied. An avid mountain climber and ukulele player she explains that most of her varied talents and experiences are things she feels compliment the character of Christine.
“I would say that I have traveled the world,” Travis said. “I have been lucky to experience joy and pain very deeply in my life along with compassion and empathy. These are all components of Christine, yes. And so when I try to tell her story, I can only hope that some of what I’ve learned in my life can shine through in my portrayal. As far as the ukulele goes, there has been no added ukulele number in this spectacular new production. And my legs are happy to tell you that I don’t climb any mountains in this production, either.”
Her road to snagging the infamous role was a long one, but her persistence and obvious talent won in the end.
“I started going in for Phantom a few years ago when I was working as a non-union actor,” Travis confided. “I would go to open calls and hope that they would see me. Sometimes I would get seen and other times I would leave the audition and finish the day with my regular nanny job. Eventually I got an agent, got my Equity card and started getting seen more at agent appointment auditions for Phantom. I believe it was close to 10 times in the course of a few years before I got the job. But here I am! It’s a true story of doing the work. Taking class. Getting better. And showing up.”
To thicken the Phantom plot, Christine’s childhood friend and eventual fiancé, Raoul, threatens the Phantom’s plans for the young soprano.
The part of Raoul was played by Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring/Watchmen) in the 2004 film of the same name, and is being played by Storm Lineberger in this tour.
Lineberger, a national tour newbie, admits that as a child Phantom of the Opera was the first musical he’d seen. He did love the show, but at that time a career in the arts was nowhere on his radar.
“It was the first musical I had ever seen,” Lineberger said. “I saw it when it came through my town as a tour when I was 11 or 12. It was awesome. I loved both male characters but at that point I never really thought I would actually be doing theater as a profession.”
One could credit his family for putting the theater bug in Lineberger, but that bug didn’t really take hold of him until recently.
“I didn’t necessarily grow up in theater,” Lineberger admitted. “My family is very artistic and at family gatherings there has always been song and dance. It wasn’t until late in high school that I seriously considered it as a profession. And it wasn’t until late in college that I knew I had made the right choice.”
His introduction into the world of professional theater was not that long ago. In fact, according to him, this was the first agent audition he went on after graduating college.
“It is my first tour,” Lineberger said. “In fact, it is more or less my first real job. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in May 2014 and I had just moved to New York City after having finished a summer stock job as Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It was my very first audition through my agent and I got the job. It has been an adjustment for sure but I have really enjoyed life on the road. I get to experience such diverse culture within America and soon Canada. A dream come true indeed.”
Lineberger is not one to shy away from different roles. In fact people might be surprised to hear that while he enjoys playing Raoul, there is another role in the show he’d like to tackle if he had the chance.
“I would love to play Carlotta,” Lineberger confessed. “She is the real star of the show. She is bombastic, polarizing and dramatic. It is a great tract and a wonderfully sculpted character. I haven’t played a woman before but it is certainly a goal in life that I get to explore something like that. A true artistic challenge.”
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