Phantom of the Opera’s last run at the Wharton Center
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" will be at Wharton Center for Performing Arts for its final Michigan engagement May 19 through June 6.
"Phantom of the Opera," the longest-running show in Broadway history, has been entertaining audiences in more than 100 cities worldwide since 1988. East Lansing is one of the last cities to host the show before it makes its final curtain call this November.
Kent Love, Wharton Center's director of communications, said having the "Phantom of the Opera" choose the Wharton Center for one of its last performances says a lot for the East Lansing venue.
What impresses Love about the show is the elaborate behind-the-scenes work that goes into the production.
"Once you see the show you'll understand how many sets and costumes and all of the behind-the-scenes things that are necessary to pull this off. It is quite an astounding feat," Love said.
"Phantom of the Opera's" advanced stage manager, David Hansen, knows how much goes on behind the scenes. Hansen supervises the tech run-throughs before performances. He makes sure the lights are working properly, the set can be easily moved on and off stage, and that all the special effects - like the candles that emerge from the stage floor - are working properly.
"It's always fun to get the show up, do everything," Hansen said.
Hansen has been touring with "Phantom of the Opera" for more than 12 years. He thinks one of the reasons it's closing is because the show is "a big expense."
Around 100 people travel with the "Phantom of the Opera" tour. That means having to pay for transportation and hotels while the cast and crew is on the road. And it takes around 30 semi trucks to transport the set and 400 costume pieces.
Besides the expense, Hansen said the show has had a good run.
"I wasn't part of the decision to say, ‘After November, we're closing,' but I think they just feel like it's time," he said.