Paul Stanley, the frontman for the rock band KISS, known for his black and white star makeup around one eye, donned a new mask May 25-Aug. 1 when he took on the lead role in The Phantom of the Opera at Toronto's Pantages Theatre. The stint went so well, Stanley will return to Phantom Sept. 28 for 40 performances. Appropriately enough, Stanley's last performance will fall on Oct. 31 -- Halloween.
Phantom, which currently stars Jeff Hyslop, was expected to close Sept. 26 -- the Toronto production's 10th anniversary -- but Stanley was able to arrange KISS tour dates around his Phantom duties, so the show itself has been extended to Oct. 31. "I know I speak for the entire cast," Stanley said in a statement, "when I say that this unprecedented 40-show extension gives us an opportunity to leave the final audiences with a magical night they won't forget."
Stanley has been known since the 1970s for the wild, menacing, face painted, leather and-tights-clad rock group KISS, which enjoyed a comeback in the 1990s. KISS has released 31 recordings and sold 80 million albums. They recently completed the European, South American and Mexican stadium stands of a "Psycho-Circus" World Tour.
More than 7 million people have seen Phantom in Toronto. By Oct. 31, the show will have played nearly 4,300 performances there.
* The historic, restored Pantages Theatre, the first jewel in the Livent crown of properties, will next host the Livent North American tour of Fosse for a six week engagement beginning Jan. 5, 2000.
Before the Sept. 26 shuttering, guest stars in the role of the Phantom were Rene Simard, a Quebec singer who has recorded 47 albums and toured the world. April 2-May 23, Stanley May 25-Aug. 1 and Sept. 28-Oct. 31, and Hyslop, the Canadian Phantom vet who has played the role for more than 800 performances, Aug. 3-Sept. 26.
Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 4000th performances in Toronto April 16. The production began previews Sept. 13, 1989 and opened Sept. 20, 1989. It became the longest-running musical in Canadian theatre history.
The Pantages Theatre is located at 244 Victoria Street in downtown Toronto. For tickets, call (416) 872-2222.