Tight Cast Pulls off Mature Content


Annette Ungermann, News Editor

2 separate casts each performed The Phantom of the Opera 4 times during the 8-show run from March 16 and 23. In addition to student performers, the production relied on a core network of parent volunteers in order to bring the show to life.

While The Phantom of the Opera has been a popular production around the globe, this was the 1st time it was performed by a bay area high school.

“It’s ambitious because there’s no high school production. We got the rights for the full show,” said senior Matthew Shieh, who played Richard Firmin, 1 of 2 owners of the opera house. “There’s no messing around with it. The costumes, set changes, sets, music– everything –it’s incredibly difficult and it’s incredibly specific.”

Based on the 19th century novel of the same name, the Broadway hit details the tortured love story of the elusive Phantom who lives in the bowels of a Parisian opera house and grooms a young chorus girl, Christine, for stardom. A love triangle quickly ensues, and a series of murders and disasters ensnare the members of the plagued opera company.

The show includes large ensemble scenes as well as various vocally-demanding numbers for principal actors.

According to senior Sydney Bagley, who played ballet dancer Meg Giry, the show’s reliance on musical numbers to dictate plot required a heavy investment of time from performers. “It was the repetition that made it what it was,” said Bagley, adding that meeting up with fellow cast members outside of rehearsal helped her keep up with the demands of her vocally ambitious role.

Both Bagley and choir director Mark Roberts, who conducted the musical’s orchestra and worked closely with each cast, noticed an increased “buy-in” in comparison to previous productions.

“I appreciated the emotional investment that a lot of students made– again, across all the different roles. I think the show called for a level of maturity that is beyond what a lot of shows might call for, and I was really impressed and pleased with how the students handled some mature content, and mature themes and ideas,” said Roberts.

Roberts explained that this increased devotion led to a unique closeness amongst cast members. “A lot of feedback that I’ve received is that– from students –they felt the cast, this year in particular, was tight. And that’s a real sort of buoying thing to hear. ”

Not only were participating students proud of their commitment to Phantom, but they also acknowledged the community impact that Campolindo musicals often have. “I think it’s definitely a pride that we have. Being able to show off all of our hard work to people– it’s something that everyone can come see, and it brings the community together,” said Bagley.