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In Concord debut, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ promises musical thrills

  • Concord High seniors Josh Storo, left, and Eileen Kelley rehearse Tuesday as The Phantom of the Opera and Chrisitne Daae at Concord High School.(Photo by Larry Crowe)

    Concord High seniors Josh Storo, left, and Eileen Kelley rehearse Tuesday as The Phantom of the Opera and Chrisitne Daae at Concord High School.(Photo by Larry Crowe)

  • Concord High freshman Pablo Rubin performs in Masquerade, part of The Phantom of the Opera which is being performed by CHS's CAST.(Photo by Larry Crowe)

    Concord High freshman Pablo Rubin performs in Masquerade, part of The Phantom of the Opera which is being performed by CHS's CAST.(Photo by Larry Crowe)

  • Concord High senior Eileen Kelley plays Christine Daae in the schools performance of The Phantom of the Opera. Kelley shown rehearsing Tuesday. (Photo by Larry Crowe)

    Concord High senior Eileen Kelley plays Christine Daae in the schools performance of The Phantom of the Opera. Kelley shown rehearsing Tuesday. (Photo by Larry Crowe)

  • Concord High seniors Josh Storo, left, and Eileen Kelley rehearse Tuesday as The Phantom of the Opera and Chrisitne Daae at Concord High School.(Photo by Larry Crowe)
  • Concord High freshman Pablo Rubin performs in Masquerade, part of The Phantom of the Opera which is being performed by CHS's CAST.(Photo by Larry Crowe)
  • Concord High senior Eileen Kelley plays Christine Daae in the schools performance of The Phantom of the Opera. Kelley shown rehearsing Tuesday. (Photo by Larry Crowe)

Hide your glassware, Concord. The Concord High School Drama Club is about to hit a high note. The over-achieving theater group, led by veteran director Clint Klose, is bringing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lavish musical The Phantom of the Opera to Concord for the first time.

“It’s a very ambitious project. It’s the biggest show I’ve ever done,” said Klose, who heads the school theater program and is director, musical director and sound technician for the show.

The show encompasses 32 cast members and more than a dozen crew members and will include an orchestra pit, period costumes and a sumptuous set created by John Hatab, an art teacher at Beaver Meadow School and frequent collaborator with Klose.

And if you think that’s impressive, wait until you hear the music. “They haven’t watered down anything for us,” Klose said. “The music is very, very challenging for both the singers and musicians.”

The longest-running Broadway show in history, The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of Christine Daae, a rising star in the Paris Opera House, and her fateful relationship with a mysterious “phantom” who inhabits the opera house. The grotesquely deformed musician, who stays hidden from the outside world, becomes obsessed with Christine, eventually kidnapping her, wreaking havoc on the opera house and forcing her to make an agonizing choice.

Rights to the show were released to high schools and universities about a year ago, for the first time in the musical’s 27-year history. Klose, a Phantom fan who has seen the show 32 times at theaters all over the country, was both excited and terrified to bring the show to Concord.

“Yes, I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time, but I knew it would be a huge undertaking,” he said.

As usual, though, Klose says his students have

risen to the occasion. “This is a wonderful group to work with,” he said. “I’ve been very pleased with them.”

Lead actors Josh Storo and Eileen Kelley have been working with choreographer Kim D’Agnese since the end of January to perfect their roles. Meanwhile, the drama club has been toiling to create the spectacle that is the Phantom of the Opera. Parent volunteers have found local businesses to sponsor the show, and crew members have orchestrated special effects such as a remote-control boat designed by the Concord Robotics Club that will glide across the stage enveloped in fog.

“We obviously don’t have the scope and size and budget of a Broadway show, so we’re putting our own little creative touches on it,” Klose said.

At any rate, the Concord community seems to think they can pull it off. Advanced-sale tickets for the shows tomorrow and Saturday night are nearly sold out, and tickets for tonight’s show and the Saturday matinee are selling well. Some tickets will be available at the door; Klose recommends getting there early if you want a glimpse of the Phantom.

(The Phantom of the Opera plays tonight and tomorrow night at 7 and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Concord High School’s Christa McAuliffe Auditorium. Tickets are $12 – $10 students and seniors – and can be purchased at 225-0800, ext. 6600, or at the door. Doors open one hour before the show.)

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