Actor with Utah ties brings fresh voice to iconic ‘Phantom’ role

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – “The music of the night” is once again playing in Salt Lake City, and the actor making that music has Utah ties. 

Quentin Oliver Lee plays the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical about a disfigured musical genius who haunts the catacombs of the Paris Opera House. For Lee, whose wife is from Orem and who has performed previously in operas in Logan, it’s the role of a lifetime. 

‘”This has to be the most prestigious role in Broadway history,” said Lee, who is also the second African American to take the role on tour. “So, it’s huge for me to have this responsibility. It’s kind of humbling, also. The music is so iconic and I try to do it justice every night.”

Even non-theatre fans know many of the songs from Phantom, which has been running continuously on Broadway since 1988. 

An army of technicians, costume specialists, lighting designers and set builders get the show prepped for curtain. The massive 30,000 bead chandelier which rises above the audience in the first act is prepped with pyrotechnics for the show’s opening and the closing of the first act. 

In fact, pyrotechnics caused a false smoke alarm during opening night Wednesday, causing the show to be suspended for a few minutes and the audience evacuated. A rare occurrence, but patrons said the show continued to the end shortly after. 

Stage manager Mitch Hodges has been touring with Phantom now for two years. He says actor and audience safety is always paramount when putting the show together for a new venue. 

“There are four different checks to make sure everyone is safe in the theater,” said Hodges. “The power department – the electrics department check all the lights.” He also said cables have to be checked daily to make sure the “free-falls” of set pieces that occur in the musical are controlled and safe. 

This is the fourth time Phantom has come to Salt Lake City. In previous runs, it was at the Capitol Theater. Now, the larger Eccles Theater allows more people to be astounded by the spectacular production. 

Tickets are still availablePhantom runs through July 22. 

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