Today, Playbill.com reported, via The New York Post, on the plot behind the highly anticipated (for many reasons) sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera.”
The new musical, directed by Jack O’Brien, is set in Coney Island in 1906. The Post describes the musical’s first half as such: “The Phantom, having fled Paris, is running a freak show. At night, he crawls into his lair and makes love to an automaton that looks like Christine. Christine, meanwhile, has become a famous opera singer. But she’s fallen on hard times because her husband, Raoul, has squandered their fortune. So she’s accepted a high-paying gig from a mysterious impresario to open a new amusement park. On her first night in New York, she draws back the curtain in her hotel suite and comes face to face with her new employer — flash of lightning, crash of chords — the Phantom! Christine has a child, Gustave, but is his father Raoul or the Phantom?”
Jamie sent this tidbit to me, her roommate/friend Brent and her friend Dan.
Three theatredorks respond via gmail chain:
Me: Are you KIDDING me?
Jamie: I am absolutely not kidding. I hope THEY’re kidding.
(and then some stuff from Brent and Dan slamming the the original POTO, blah blah how could it be any worse than the first one blah blah.)
Jamie: And I’M writing the third part of the Phantom trilogy right now.
I’m setting it in space. The Phantom is an alien who bangs a robot he’s built who looks like Christine, and then plays sad songs on his space organ with overwrought orchestrations. And then he and Raoul, a dashing space captain, have a meteor war. It’s going to be epic.
Julie Taymor will direct. Just sayin.
Dan: Tee hee…space organ…dirty!
Jamie: Phantom: A Space Organ
Brent: “In space no one can hear you sing.”
Me: Love it, Jamie! I’ll back it.
I’m writing a Phantom Prequel!
It will open with The Phantom, a mentally damaged youth who kills animals and taxidermies them, singing an aria titled “Stuffing You (is Easy Cuz You’re Animal).” And then he gets his face burned off in an awful hot glue gun accident. After he bangs an automaton. And invents cold fusion.
And then it cuts to a young Christine, who wants to join the Paris opera, much to her father’s dismay. But she does anyway, eventually becoming a woman of the night, as they say. And then she does ze can can and starts a revolution after falling in love with a young boy named Marius.
And it’s all told with puppets. And there’s flying and fireworks and a helicopter. WTF????
Jamie: Helicopters? Now you’re just being silly.
Dan: I wonder what the gimmick is in the sequel? A Coney Island carousel? I see it coming off its frame and rolling into the orchestra pit! Raoul barely escapes a crushing.
Me: Good call, Dan. I also envision choreography (by Ann Reinking!) with the Phantom and the Christine Automaton (Can you see how fascinated I am with this automaton thing?). Like a Julie Taymor puppet thing. Can you see it? I can.
Brent: I think the automaton is supposed to be something like you’d see on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It is Coney Island after all, could be something he stole from one of the dark rides and made it up to look like Christine.
Me: No, I think you’re wrong, Brent. I think it will be played by a chorus girl, maybe Rachelle Rack or Karen Ziemba? And she can have her own featured number about how she hates being taken advantage of by The Phantom.
Jamie: It’s a torch song, FYI.
Brent: Oh, I agree. I think the animatronic figure COULD be played by an actress. But, we as audience members will have to suspend disbelief and see it as an animatronic figure, or as they must call it in the UK, an automaton.
Me: You seem well versed in automatons, Brent. Do you have one of your own? Please advise and thanks.
Brent: Let’s just say I wanted to be an Imagineer for Disney when I was a lad.
Me: I was fascinated with automaton’s too! And then, when I was around 8, I found a book in the school library about models who get paid to stand still like mannequins in dept stores – they don’t blink for hours! That was equally fascinating.
Do you think the Christine automaton/animatron has an understudy? Will there be open calls? Has equity been notified?
Jamie: Word on the street is that Chenoweth turned it down, Ripley was deemed too old, Skinner wouldn’t ditch the mumu, Idina wanted to be painted green which the producers hated, and Kelli O’Hara was busy (of course)… so….MTV is going to do a TV show to cast the automaton.
AUTOMATON: The search for the new Christine.