Shannon DeMarcus, Dixie Heights High School
Although commonly referred to as one of the most difficult productions, Taylor High School performed it stunningly. Not only did the leads, Alyssa Batsakis (Christine) and Nick Wasserbauer (the Phantom) shine on stage with stunning vocals and captivating chemistry, but even secondary characters like Meg (Jessica Lawrence ) and Carlotta (Annie Gerth ) brought amazing quality to the performance. Not only did the entire cast have a connection that made the musical flow so well, but also a remarkable passion that was readily seen on stage. The talented cast of Taylor High School Drama did an amazing job with such a difficult production.
Katrina Culbertson, Loveland High School
Alyssa Batsakis led the cast with her outstanding vocals and did a wonderful job showing Christine’s anguish. Her performance in the song “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” was stunningly beautiful, and her fantastic duet with the Phantom in “The Point of No Return” touched the audience deeply with its tension and passion.
Carlotta, played by Annie Gerth, had an incredible voice that was showcased in the songs “Prima Donna” and “Think of Me.” The Ballet Chorus featured the incredibly talented Scott Hannum and two other dancers who performed en pointe.
Mackenzie Mahon, Loveland High School
The crew effectively accomplished massive and difficult feats throughout the show. The sound crew (Brian Wirth and Andrea Thompson) successfully ensured that everyone was heard throughout the show and that the pit did not overpower the singing. The lighting crew (Emily Pohlmeyer and Eddie Collins) accomplished notable lighting techniques such as flashing lights and dark mood lighting that always fit with a scene and added suspense. In the transition to the Phantom’s lair the stage crew moved everything elegantly so it flowed with the music.
Jenna VanWeelden, Cincinnati Christian Schools
Diverse characters helped the supporting cast as well, most significantly including Annie Gerth as Carlotta, and Eliana Batsakis as Madame Giry. The two contrasting characters each supplied the stage with vigorous energy and eye-catching expression. The ladies both also employed noticeably superior vocal technique.
The chorus of Taylor’s production danced enthusiastically. Scott Hannum, a featured member of the Ballet Chorus, astounded with endless gorgeous leaps, jumps and turns that won well-deserved applause.
Sean Chrusniak, Loveland High School
Nick Wasserbauer’s unforgettable performance as The Phantom, the deranged musical genius, took practice of his high-powered articulation. His offstage vocals sent a chill down the spine, resulting in a standing ovation.
As Carlotta, Annie Gerth delivered room-shaking vocals that impressed seasoned theatrical professionals. Gerth had exceptional comedic timing as she took on this pretentious prima donna, while keeping the audience entertained as she interacted with Ublado Piangi, played by the hysterical Antonio Ortiz.
Sheila Raghavendran, William Mason High School
Equally magical and stunning were the ultimate special effects with credit to Melissa Timmerman, Caitie Oser and Ashley Profitt. The screaming use of pyrotechnics surprised the audience and embellished the power and rage in the show. The whimsical self-playing golden piano was spectacular, and the fiery staff was striking. The most impressive effect was that of the mirror; the staging was impeccable, and the view of Christine’s reflection and the appearance of the Phantom were both jaw-dropping. The special effects and technology crew outdid itself in the best moments of the show.
Savannah Nolan, Dixie Heights High School
The great musicality achieved during the performance would not have been possible without the orchestra. They played for the entire performance extremely well. The live music added a professional element to the already spectacular show. Even without being seen, they were an important component to the overall effect of the performance.
Another group that was to the overall production was the props/design crew. All of the props were made beautifully, especially the elephant prop in the beginning scene. Along with looks, many of the props contained hidden technical elements. The moving boat that was powered by a crew member crawling on the ground impressed the audience. Also, the light effects on the chandelier premiered the opera house well.