The Phantom is Unmasked in OC
Written By: Susan Krupa
The 25th Anniversary Tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” opens August 5th at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. Running through August 16th, this tour is a new take on the classic musical. However, in addition to new sets, direction, and a new chandelier, the 25th Anniversary Tour brings a local actress home: Amy Decker. Decker is a graduate of Estancia High School in Costa Mesa and is excited to perform in front of her home audience once again.
After graduating from Estancia in 1997, Amy moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music. There she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with a specialization in Classical Voice. She has lived in the Big Apple ever since successfully pursuing a career in theater. She has previously toured with “The Will Rogers Follies” and “Fame! The Musical” in South Korea. She also has many regional credits including “The King and I, ” “Oklahoma!” and “Guys and Dolls.” Her love of singing started at an early age and throughout her schooling, she competed in singing competitions both locally and statewide. As a kid, Amy saw “The Phantom of the Opera” twice including one performance with the original Phantom, Michael Crawford.
Now, as part of “The Phantom of the Opera” cast as an understudy, she may play one of five different roles on any given night. This means she has five different sets of cues, lines, and costume combinations to commit to memory. It also means that she is a useful cast member as she knows the show from several different angles. Amy joined the 25th Anniversary Tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” back when rehearsals began in October of 2013. The tour has been on the road since rehearsals wrapped and is currently scheduled to tour until at least 2016.
A day as a cast member begins at least 30 minutes before the show begins when the actors arrive for warm-up, makeup and costuming. However, most of the cast is there at least an hour before curtain, as the costumes and wigs warrant a more time-consuming preparation than other musical productions. To that end, the show tours with two Wig Masters who maintain over 100 wigs that are used throughout the show. In fact, every female cast member and several of the men wear wigs. Amy herself may wear up to 3 wigs in just one performance depending on her role.
On the road, the show begins in a new city when the 20 tractor trailers that travel with the production arrive at their new location. Sets are assembled, props are unloaded, and the costumes are unpacked and laid out—all before the cast arrives at the theater on the first day. The entire cast meets the first day for sound checks and runs through the entire “Masquerade” number together. They will also have a cast meeting at this time and can explore the backstage area so everyone can get a feel for where they will need to be throughout the show. The meeting will ensure there are no missed cues or hiccups. What goes on backstage during the show is just as choreographed as what happens on stage. For the show to run flawlessly, the cast, crew, sets, and props must all be in sync in each theater on the tour.
Since its opening in London’s West End in 1986, “The Phantom of the Opera” has been staged in 27 different countries and seen by millions. But the 25th Anniversary Tour revives this classic with new staging and costume concepts for the first time in its history. Orange County audiences can look forward to seeing this fan favorite reimagined, and also keep their eyes peeled for a local girl who has become a theater success.
“The Phantom of the Opera” runs at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts August 5th–16th. Tickets and showtimes are available here.
For more information about Amy Decker, visit her website here.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626