Eager to showcase their new state of the art theater, Taylor High School Drama took on the challenge of producing “The Phantom of the Opera.” This is a production many high schools could only dream of attempting; yet Taylor boldly went for it and it was more successful than anyone could expect from a high school show.
There must have been something in the water in Cleves because not only was there incredible vocal talent in the lead actress, Alyssa Batsakis, but also in Annie Gerth, who portrayed the prima donna Carlotta. Both girls stole the show with their incredible abilities, stunning the audience with soaring vocals and genuine acting.
Nick Wasserbauer’s portrayal of the Phantom was outstanding, blending vocal talent with incredible emotional depth. His performance truly shone in the final scene with his heart wrenching portrayal of the Phantom’s heartbreak and hopelessness.
The ensemble, especially the Ballet Chorus, was also incredible, complementing the leads and performing in their own rights. The sole male ballet dancer, Scott Hannum stole the show with impressive leaps, jumps and turns, as well as the impressive work by student choreographers Abby Parrigan and Stacy Nuss.
The makeup and costume crew (Kaitlyn Ludwig, Krissie Beckham and Haley Irvine) was responsible for the shocking face of The Phantom, a dramatic reveal that could have the potential to make or break an essential moment. Thankfully for Taylor High School, the AP Art Studio designers on the crew did a fantastic job with not only making the Phantom look gruesome, but also having it read from the back of the audience. The costumes were also gorgeous, as well as the multiple quick changes that occurred on stage.
The sound of the show was effective and innovative; a memorable moment included the use of the theater’s surrounding speakers to create the illusion of the Phantom casting his voice about the theater. The sound was not the only powerful effect in the show, however.
The directors succeeded in showcasing the new theater to their community. A massive, suspended chandelier hung over the audience and was lit for dramatic effect. Many pyrotechnics were used within the show, run by the crew.
The crew of this show was especially dedicated to putting on a great show. The boat, which notoriously caused issues for professional productions of this show, was moved by a crew member, Ethan Waldeck on his stomach underneath the piece, pulling it by his hands to avoid the risks of a mechanically operated boat malfunctioning. This dedication was shown throughout the show, with impressive scene changes performed seamlessly and without much view of the skilled crew members.
There are too many good things to say about this production that cannot be summarized in just this one review. Anyone with an interest in professional level vocalists and incredible technical productions by a high school drama group should keep one eye trained on Taylor High School for future shows and, perhaps, the next big stars of Broadway.