The passion and power of the music of the night comes alive in the Phantom’s Lair Oct. 28 at the Chestermere Public Library.
Graydon Pease will be playing the title role of the Phantom for the adults only fundraiser.
“The Phantom character itself is an extremely passionate individual both positively and negatively,” said Pease.
“He takes that passion into everything that he does, believes in, music he writes all that…is incredibly, incredibly powerful.”
The passion and complexity of the music written by Andrew Lloyd Weber for The Phantom of the Opera offers both challenges and opportunities for those lucky enough to play the role.
“It’s very challenging music,” he said.
In rehearsing, Pease has been stretched to the edge of his singing range for many of the songs.
“For a guy who speaks as low as I do they’re extremely high notes,” he said.
Despite the challenges Pease loves the character and the opportunity to lose himself in the Phantom.
“I think what’s appealing about that is that you can kind of lose yourself in the character more than other things on a dramatic basis,” he said.
For the fundraiser, Pease and Mel Porter who will be playing Christine are only performing 5 song vignettes.
The advantage to the shorter performance is that it allows Pease to put more focus and energy into each song than if he was performing the full musical.
“To be able to really just pour everything you’ve got into those little moments, to hopefully convey some of that story to those people that are in attendance,” he said.
His ability to inhabit the role of the Phantom is made all the easier because Pease genuinely loves the musical.
“I love the role, love the movie, I’ve seen the play live, and it’s probably one of my favourite pieces,” said Pease.
“It’s a great, great musical piece,” he said.
The Phantom’s solo, The Music of the Night is Pease’s favourite song from the musical, and one he will be performing on the 28th.
“Music of the Night is just such an emotionally charged powerful piece,” he said.
Rehearsals for the fundraiser have been going splendidly, although it has been a challenge to learn the music.
“It’s very complex music lyrically and musically,” he said.
Porter, who is singing opposite him at the fundraiser is also a voice coach and has been helping Pease as he prepares for the role.
“It’s great, she’s been helping me with breathing and that kind of stuff,” he said.
Despite the challenge, Pease is enjoying preparing to be the Phantom.
“The Music of the Night, for example, is a seduction song…you are pouring every bit of what you understand the Phantom’s goal to be, in terms of winning over Christine, you’re pouring everything that you can into those words and into that mood,” he said.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
He has performed for over 15 years with the Strathmore Theatre Players with credits including The Sound of Music and Kiss Me Kate.
In addition to his stage roles he has also sung at private functions as well as been master of ceremonies for various community events.
With his history of performing, Pease is looking forward to the evening and getting to let loose in his performance.
“For the five songs that we do I just want to pour everything I’ve got into those performances,” he said, “and make everybody glad they came.”
It’s not just the performers putting their all into the evening.
Pease said that the Library is going all out for the event.
“There’ doing just a great job,” he said.
Pease is a recent addition to the community having moved here from Strathmore with his wife in March.
He was introduced by his ex-wife to the city’s Events Coordinator, Nancie Huneault who, after seeing some of his previous work, quickly cast him as the Phantom for the Library’s Phantom’s Lair fundraiser.
An active member of the Strathmore community for more than 20 years, Pease is looking forward to growing into a similar role here.
“This is a chance for me to…have a first step at getting involved in Chestermere,” he said.
Tickets to the Phantom’s Lair are $25 and can be purchased at the Library. The Fundraiser is on Oct. 28 running from 7-9 p.m. at the Chestermere Public Library.