Tickets are available for the musical, which the Opera Theatre program is putting on in conjunction with Moonlight Broadway.
Sitting in a darkened theater, a young Marissa Hernandez listened to the high, clear voice of Christine Daae sing the immortal tribute to her long-lost father: "Wishing you were somehow here again/knowing we must say goodbye/try to forgive, teach me to live/give me the strength to try!"
Today those words of "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from the musical "Phantom of the Opera" come easily to Hernandez. Although the theater is dark, a spotlight shines on her, the sole performer on the stage as her voice reaches the rafters, inviting the audience to feel her sorrow, grief and anger.
It's a difficult role for the Texas Tech University student, but one she is thrilled to take on. In November, Hernandez, a vocal performance and Honors College student, will play up-and-coming opera singer Christine, who has been trained by an "angel of music" – the Phantom of the Opera. Music performance student Joshua Reynolds will play Raoul, Christine's love interest, and returning student, alumnus and Broadway star David Gaschen, who has played the Phantom in more than 1,500 performances worldwide, will reprise his role as the anti-hero.
The show, which the Opera Theatre program in the School of Music is presenting along with Moonlight Broadway, will run Nov. 18-22 and Nov. 25-27 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. It is the first time "Phantom" will be performed by a university theatre company. Tickets, which went on sale in July, are still available for most of the performances.
"This is a production of historic significance for Texas Tech," music professor Gerald Dolter said. "For so many students to be involved in a professional-level production is something to be cherished and celebrated. Added to that, to be on stage with such a fine performing artist as David Gaschen in the role that made him famous – such opportunities happen once in a lifetime. The students are certainly up to the challenge, and I am very proud of their work to date."
For undergraduate student leads Reynolds and Hernandez, it's an opportunity to perform alongside one of theatre's greats and while taking on much-loved roles in a well-known story. Neither auditioned specifically for these parts, so receiving the phone calls that they'd be playing the lead were wonderful moments. Both called their casting a dream role.
Both Reynolds and Hernandez invited South Plains residents, whether they are theatre-lovers or first-timers to live theatre, to see a performance. They both have a special moment they want to share with the audience.
Reynolds wants to draw out the similarities between his character and the dark, mysterious, masked man who completes the love triangle of the story.
"I'm very excited to show the audience that Raoul isn't too different of a character from Phantom," Reynolds said. "While their childhoods and young adult life were probably very different, I feel they aren't that dissimilar. Christine's relationships with both the Phantom and Raoul are interesting to analyze. A specific part I'm excited about is Christine and Raoul's duet 'All I Ask of You' in the first act. This scene, to me, is where I really see Raoul's and Phantom's love for Christine aren't much different from each other."
For Hernandez, it's the emotional moment of Christine needing and missing her father.
"The song 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again' has always been one of my favorite songs in this show," Hernandez said. "I remember it really stuck with me after I saw the show for the first time. It was definitely the song I was most looking forward to learning."
Tickets, ranging in cost from $43-$100, are available at TexasTechPhantom.com.