Stories & Cast Interviews

Friday, November 9, 2007

North County News applauds Phantom

Posted by: WBT on Friday, November 9, 2007 at 8:32:15 pm Comments (0)
Not a monster, a man with a heart and soul Phantom at Westchester Broadway Theater By Kathy Grantham Yes, there are two famous theatrical Phantoms! Lloyd Webber’s Phantom on Broadway and Kopit/Yeston’s Phantom at Westchester Broadway Theatre, influenced by Gaston Leroux’s novel, The Phantom of the Opera. Some people think they’re buying tickets for Lloyd Webber’s Broadway Phantom when they buy their tickets for Phantom at Westchester Broadway Theatre. During intermission they ask, “Is the “Music of the Night” in the second act?” The Kopit/Yeston version is bittersweet and emotionally charged, stunning the audience with a couple of not-to-be-missed surprises. Webber’s Phantom, sung as opera, with no dialogue, features a frightening satanic ghoul in the horror genre, a vague plot and some memorable songs, especially “Music of the Night.” The Kopit/Yeston Phantom at WBT is classic musical theatre, captivating the audience with a unique story, a star-crossed romance and a grand musical score. The opening scene introduces Christine, a beautiful Parisian street singer, discovered by Count Philippe de Chandon who sends her to his friend Carriere, director of the Paris Opera, for singing lessons, unaware that Carriere has just been fired. Carlotta, a jealous wanna-be diva, married to the new director, employs Christine for menial tasks. It’s rumored that a phantom is haunting the opera house. Carriere has a close friendship with the phantom, who lives in the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House and wears a mask to conceal a facial deformity. The phantom gives her singing lessons with the understanding she must never look at him. The chemistry between them is electric and the sparks fly even when they’re just singing scales. Christine is almost a captive in this underground hideaway, and Carriere warns, “Leave before it’s too late!” The phantom is completely turned around by Christine: her voice, her music, her beauty. He falls in love, risking everything. Will he remove his mask because she promises to love him, no matter what? This romantic thriller keeps the audience on tenterhooks until the very end. Director/Choreographer Tom Polum was Dance Captain in the 1992 opening of Phantom at WBT, he directed it in 1996 and presents the 2007 production with an enthusiasm that belies 15 years with the show. “We knew we had to find the magic of the right Christine and the right Phantom. That was our goal,” he said in an interview. “Christine has that ‘other worldly character.’ The two of them together make sparks fly.” Christine is played by Kate Rockwell, who graduated from Baldwin Wallace College in 2006 with a major in musical theatre and landed the role of a lifetime. Rockwell is a coloratura soprano with an extraordinary three octave range. Aaron Ramey, cast as the phantom, is a baritenor, reaching low g-flat when he sings, “My Mother Bore Me” in the second act. Ramey enjoys the role because the phantom experiences love, hate, anger, revenge, even self-pity. He’s a misfit, condemned to live in solitude. “I love this role because it runs the gamut of human emotions,” Ramey told NCN. Phantom runs through November 25, 2007, with a break for the holiday show, A Christmas Carol, and resumes performances December 27, 2007-February 9, 2008. Ticket prices for dinner & show range between $55 and $73 plus tax. Discounts are available. For information and reservations, call (914) 592-2222. Westchester Broadway Theatre is located at 1 Broadway Plaza, Elmsford, N.Y. Original Link:

Phantom fanbase grows...

Posted by: WBT on Friday, November 9, 2007 at 3:41:00 pm Comments (0)

On November 4, 2007, we went to see The Phantom of the Opera as part of our 25th wedding anniversary. We were not to convinced that this show would be of our liking, but we went to see it anyway despite our table number was 113 (front stage). This was the best thing we had convinced ourselves of. This is an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind, theatre experience for us.


The Phantom of the Opera's costumes were eye-catching, and the special effects are truly thrilling. The moment that Aaron Ramey (The Phantom) started to sign "Where in the World" it was jaw opening and all I could say was; "Wow, Wow, Wow..." My husband and I had never heard a voice like Mr. Ramey's it is really a maestro and not just in character. Oh, yes; Kate Rockwell (Christine) was amazing also, but we had never heard such a voice coming from a male. I sat at the edge of my seat the rest of the show. We find irresistible the character of Mr. Gary Marchek's (Cholet), he was hilarious to view, especially when he was in the scene with Sandy Rosenberg (Carlotta)."Wow." The show's eerie gondola ride to the Phantom's cave, when the giant chandelier drops on the Paris Opera House stage; and of course the teary eye scene with Mr. James Van Treuren (Gerard Carriere) singing "You Are My Own" with Mr. Ramey. "Wow, wow, wow. BRAVO!, BRAVO! BRAVO!"


Sincerely Amazed,


Carmen and Richard Vason

Mount Vernon, NY


Sandy Rosenberg, Phantom's Carlotta, stops by WBT blog

Posted by: WBT on Friday, November 9, 2007 at 3:39:00 pm Comments (0)

 Phantom's Rosenberg chats with By Jon Chattman
Growing up, Sandy Rosenberg always loved to perform. "My earliest memories was at about five years old sitting on a piano at a hotel in the Catskills singing 'When the red, red robin comes bob bob bobbin; along,;" she said in a recent interview with the Westchester Broadway Theatre blog. While she didn't perform in grade school talent shows, Rosenberg performed in musicals and plays throughout camp, junior high, high school, college, and eventually, summer stock. The rest is history. Throughout her career, Rosenberg has performed in a variety of shows regionally and on Broadway. Her credits on the Great White Way include Mamma Mia!, which she starred in for over five years, and the original cast of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Her regional credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, and yes, Yeston/Kopit's Phantom. Rosenberg can currently be seen in WBT's production of the show, playing that lovable off-key diva Carlotta. It's not the first time the actress has played the character. Some 13 years ago, she played the part at La Miranda CLO. What made her return to the role, read on!

What has the experience been like performing at WBT? What has the audience response been? It's been wonderful at WBT. I haven't been here since the late 70s when I saw my friend Bradley Jones in the chorus of Funny Girl, and that was in the smaller theatre. It's a great space to do a show. The cast and the crew have been so supportive and the audiences are just loving the show. Sometimes they even audibly respond when they think something bad is going to happen....strangely thinking that their words of advice will change the course of the play.
You've played Carlotta in the past. Why was now the right time to do the character again? It's always the right time when someone offers you a job! The good thing about being a character woman is you are often not locked into any specific age for your character. Therefore Carlotta can be in her 30's, 40's, 50's, etc...
What drew you to Carlotta and the show in the first place? In LA, I had been involved with an organization called APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles) and yearly they did the S.T.A.G.E.S. benefit. The director of that, David Galligan, was directing Phantom and asked me to audition, and there you have it. An old friend of mine, Paul Ainsley, was hired to play Cholet, Carlotta's husband, so it was a wonderful introduction to the Yeston-Kopit version of Phantom, which I personally prefer to the 'other' Phantom of the Opera. And I am not alone in this preference.
Your character is a diva to say the least do you share any similarities with Carlotta? Geez, I hope not! Though she is quite the fashion plate, wouldn't you say. Actually, she sings higher than I do.
Moving on, you've performed on Broadway in Mamma Mia! for five years. What role did you play? Are you psyched for the movie? I was the crocheting Greek granny at the top of the show and made many a lovely huge doily, table cloth or whatever which we sold at the Broadway flea market for Broadway Cares. I did other roles in the ensemble and understudied Rosie: the first one being Judy Kaye, which meant I also got to perform with Karen Mason, your very recent and very wonderful Mama Rose. I'm very interested in seeing the movie. They've got a great cast. Meryl Streep became a big fan of the show, and although we didn't meet her when she came a few years ago, she did send a lovely letter to the cast. Pierce Brosnan did come backstage and take photos with all of us, so my life is complete. I'd like to be invited to the opening in NYC since I did perform the show over 1,300 times, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see next summer.
Definitely! Lastly, what's up next after Phantom? I don't know....are you offering me a job?

DanceSport returns to WBT

Posted by: WBT on Friday, November 9, 2007 at 2:54:00 pm Comments (0)

 "We Are The Champions" returns to the Westchester Broadway Theatre with both a matinee and evening program Monday, Dec. 3, showcasing current World and American ballroom dance champions. All forms of DanceSport will be in the spotlight with presentations alternating from International Latin and Standard style to American rhythm and smooth. Also, Cabaret and Theatre Arts.

Heading the 6-couples "We Are The Champions" cast is Italian superstar, Erminio Stefano, with his Latvian partner, Liene Apale. The couple will be returning from England where they represented the United States in "The Night of One Hundred Stars in London and the World Championship in Blackpool. They have won the prestigious Ohio Star Ball and earlier this year won the heralded Millenium, Heritage and Capital DanceSport classics in this Country.

Also in the star-studded cast are Argentine Tango stars Francisco Forquera and Natalia Hills who were the principal dancers in the hit Broadway show Forever Tango in New York, London, and Paris. They also headed the cast of Tango Passion on its tour of the Far East. Their career was highlighted by being specially invited to perform in honor of Princess Diana Spenser at the British Embassy in Argentina.

Gherman Mustuc and Iveta Lukosiute, the reigning U.S. National Professional International style 10-dance champions, and silver medalists at the world championship held in Germany, also return with the show. They, too, took 4th place for this year’s World Classical Showdance title held in Holland. They began 2007 by sweeping both the Show Dance and International Ballroom titles in Washington D.C.’s Yuletide Ball and San Francisco’s Grand Ball.

Dmitri and Svetlana Ostashkin were twice winners of the European Latin Championship and have won numerous major American competitions. The Ostashkins, too, are Show Dance champions and should enthrall the audience with their renown "Marilyn Monroe" and Latin theater show presentations.

Also in the star-studded cast will be Steven Dougherty and Eulia Baranovsky, American-style smooth winners of the California Open and Boston’s Yankee Classic. Dougherty and Baranovsky were Grand Finalists in both the United States Ballroom Championship and Ohio Star Ball and were featured in the TV special "American Ballroom Challenge" on PBS and ESPN. They are guest teachers and performers for the Juilliard School.

New to the cast are Evgeny Dyachenko and Inna Ivanenko, silver medalists in the World Professional American rhythm championship as seen on PBS. Inna, with her exotic movements and slinky body action, and the energetic Evgeny, toured America this past summer with the "Dancing With The Stars" road show. Dance Beat called them "refreshing and fun to watch". Inna, with her former partner were American Rhythm World Champions.

The Show’s Producer, Bob Beslove, is Master of Ceremonies. Musical Director is Peter Collins who for many years was the deejay at New York City’s Rainbow Room. Tickets are$55 per person plus tax for the matinee and $73 plus tax in the evening. It includes served dinner featuring your choice from six entrees and show. To reserve contact the box office at (914) 592-2222. Tickets can be ordered on-line at The WBT is located at 1 Broadway Plaza in Elmsford.