Theater begins final production

As meetings in-person begin to become more common, the Diamond Bar High School theater department has begun holding more on-campus practice as they prepare for their performance of “The Phantom of the Opera,” set for the weekend after school ends, May 29- 30. 

“The Phantom of the Opera” is a classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about a masked figure who lives beneath the Paris Opera House. The story follows the phantom as he obsessively stalks a vocalist who performs there.

“Since this production has started, we have been doing most of the rehearsals through Zoom, but we are starting to have practices in person, socially distanced.” said junior Gavin Prudencio who plays Raoul. 

The production restarted about one month ago after Drama’s previous production of “The Wedding Singer” wrapped up. The pit orchestra will be conducted by senior Vasili Magaziotis, who started work on the performance in January. The show will feature Lawrence Wu as The Phantom along with  Allison Santogrossi and Jillian Swartout splitting the role of Christine.

The show was originally set to run last school year in May, but was postponed due to school closures. This caused a change in casting for the stage and pit orchestra, as senior members from last year have already graduated.

“We had [the seniors] return their sheet music to the school and to Mr. [Steve] Acciani,” Magaziotis said. “We then redistributed the parts to other players who had volunteered to play in their spot.”

In the past year, there have been some changes made to the production. Prudencio said that normally, the show would run for two and a half hours, but the director, Jared Kaitz, cut some scenes to shorten the production. 

In terms of format and presentation, the performance will be similar to other drama productions this year. The show will feature music recorded by the pit orchestra with performers singing to it.

“We all record ourselves performing in front of a green screen and our director, Mr. Kaitz, edits all the videos together to make it look like we are in one place,” Prudencio said. 

At the end of May, the show will be distributed online, like the others that have been released this school year. Magaziotis said that he is confident that this method is the safest and best option.

“There’s nothing compared to playing music live, let alone musical theater. It’s honestly heartbreaking that we won’t get to play this live after all the effort put into it,” Magaziotis said. “We kept going because we wanted to show others that nothing can stop music even if Covid-19 was the worst thing to happen for us performers.”