Stories & Cast Interviews
Inside The Phantom's Dressing Room
WBT's Pia Haas takes us inside The Phantom's dressing room, but alas, she won't sing.
Michael White backstage of Phantom
Michael Padgett sings for us (in the hallway)
Phantom's James Van Treuren on the show, WBT, and "coming home"
The Man Behind Gerard Carriere By Jon Chattman
James Van Treuren, who portrays Gerard Carriere in Westchester Broadway Theatre’s “Phantom,” says in many ways, playing the role in the current production is “like coming home again.” After all, the actor has starred in ten productions at WBT, including both previous WBT productions of the show in 1992 and 1996 has played the role of Carrier before in another theater and said he’s ecstatic to be playing the role here. We recently spoke with the actor, who's appeared on Broadway in “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and countless regional theatre productions, and asked him all about how it’s going at the WBT.
In a battle between "Phantom" productions, who wins and why? Webber or Yeston? Personally, I like this version better. The development of all the characters is richer, especially for the Phantom. In this version, the audience gets to know the Phantom as a real person with real problems and real emotions. He truly falls in love with Christine and by the end of the story, the audience is rooting for him to get together with her even when they know it can’t ever happen.
What drew you to your character? My character is (hopefully) a great surprise for the audience. The audience first meets me as the “protector” of the Phantom and may indeed wonder why I do the things that I do. In Act II all is made clear and it is a very compelling story line. That is the main thing that drew me to this character. His story line ultimately is as tragic and moving as the Phantom’s
Why'd you get into showbiz? You ask why I got into showbiz? Basically ‘cause I’m lousy at everything else. I got “the bug” early on in my life during high school and I’ve never looked back.
What's your opinion on the Broadway strike? Hopefully, by the time you post this the strike will be history. It’s very unfortunate that the theater community is in this turmoil. It’s all very complicated and a speedy resolve will be in everyone’s best interest. (Wow, he was right!)
What's your favorite show and why? I don’t have any one favorite show, but a list would have to include some of the productions I saw as a young man when I first started going to Broadway shows. They were, "West Side Story" (a revival), "Fiddler on the Roof," "Hello Dolly" (starring Ethel Merman) and of course my first Sondheim musicals the original cast of "Company" and "Follies." If you want to know which shows are my favorites that I have had the pleasure of playing in I would have to say "South Pacific," "La Cage aux Folles" and "Peter Pan." The why part of your question can be answered simply…. They are all great shows with wonderful music, lyric,s and book.
Is there a dream role you'd like to play? I have a short list of roles I would love to play or play again. Now that I am older the list is shorter since the number of roles for someone in my age bracket is fewer. I’m dying to play Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha." I’d love to do "A Little Night Music" or "Sweeney Todd." Roles I have played and would love to play again are Emile de Becque ("South Pacific"), Captain Hook ("Peter Pan") and Georges ("La Cage...").
What are your short-term and long-term goals? This one is easy my short-term goal is to keep on working…. and my long term goal is to keep on working. I don’t plan on an early retirement. I hope to continue doing this for as long as I can get the jobs.
What's your take on WBT? The audiences? The productions? This is my 10th production at WBT so I guess it’s safe to say I like working here and they like having me work for them. Generally, the audiences are great. This show gets a terrific response. Our weekday matinees are particularly good. Bus loads of groups (mainly seniors) and they love the experience of seeing a live show. They are our most enthusiastic audiences. We love performing the show for them. Visit James Van Treuren's site by clicking here.