Hello all. Welcome to the Phantom’s blog. Literally. My name is Ramin and I am The Phantom of the Opera here in London. What I plan on doing is to keep a diary of our rehearsal process and hopefully keep it going once the show is up and running with the new cast. I will try to take some photos along the way. I will try my best to get you guys as close to the action as possible and hopefully give you an insight on some of the ins and outs of The Phantom of the Opera.
As many of you are aware the show is celebrating its 21st anniversary. I for one am very excited to be taking on the role of The Phantom. I was only seven when the show first opened. I remember the first time I saw this show. I was probably about eleven or twelve. It was a school trip back home in Canada. I grew up in Peterborough Ontario. I was so not into going to see an opera. I was more interested in playing hockey, American football or, well, anything else really. However, it was a day off school and a trip to a different town, downtown Toronto. For a boy from a hick down, this was a pretty darn exciting day. I still remember the buildup for Phantom‘s arrival to Toronto. There was so much hype about it and many advertisements, TV commercials, billboards, newspapers etc. with the slogan “Its Coming”. It was the talk of the town. But I still didnt want to go.
I didnt know it at the time but that day was going to change my life forever. During the morning the theatre did a Phantom Educational talk. Usually for the matinees it was packed with buses of school kids. So, before the matinee, there was about an hour’s presentation on the show, some of the effects and then a recorded interview with the legendary Colm Wilkinson. Colm was the actor who created the role of The Phantom in Toronto. During the presentation, they needed three volunteers from the audience. I can’t believe they picked me. How embarrassing. So I, along with two other students, got up on the stage in the Pantages Theatre. They were showing some of the effects at this time and I was used to show how the Phantom’s voice goes around the theatre. So into the mic, I had to say, “I’m here, the Phantom of the Opera”. Talk about laying the ground work. Now, onto the show. I remember how amazing Colm’s entrance was in the mirror. For a 12-year-old kid, at that time, I thought that was the coolest thing. I just became more and more engrossed in the show from there on in. Emotionally I was up and down throughout the show. I had never experienced something like that before. By the time Colm came out for his bow I remember saying to my friend beside me, I want to be the Phantom. He laughed the whole way home.
When I was 16, my English class wanted us to do a project on our vocation in life. I really had no idea about my vocation. I told the teacher well, I know I want to be the Phantom. She said, well, do your project on that. Now I cant remember the exact details but I ended up on the phone with Live Ent who was in charge of Phantom in Toronto and was explaining my project to them. Next thing I know I was meeting Peter Karrie who had taken over the role from Colm. I was job shadowing him for the day. I still have the little tape which I used to record all our interviews. That was an amazing experience to say the least. I have to say, if it wasn’t for Peter and this experience I probably wouldnt be here doing this today. I remember his advice that day: stick with it. It will probably take about 15 years to truly know youve made it. Thank the Lord it didnt take that long, but it has been 12 years since that day and now I am London’s Phantom. When I presented my work to the class the next day, they somehow managed to make me sing “The Music of The Night” during the presentation. How embarrassing. Afterwards, with my A I might add, I was talking to my buddy and he was like “dude how cool was that?” I did say to him I want to be The Phantom, you wait and see. What was a real nice bonus to the Peter Karrie day was when I opened the Toronto Star newspaper to see an article with Peter and myself and the headline “The Phantom Links With His Shadow”.
Anyhow, skipping ahead a few years now to the present. I am here writing to you guys. So I guess Phantom has been part of my destiny. Ive been involved with it since I was 12 I guess. Ive also had the privilage to play all of Christine’s loves; Raoul, here in London, her Father for the Phantom film and now Phantom.
Now its time to work and get myself ready for a hard, busy but fulfilling year. Got to get myself rested as I meet the entire cast tomorrow and meet the new cast members for the first time. Really looking forward to it.
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