"The house has been invaded by a Phantom" -- at least San Jose's Performing Arts Center has been. Richard White, the original creator of Maury Yeston's Phantom, returns to the role for the May 20 opening. The musical thriller, which gave one preview May 19, runs through June 4. White replaces the previously announced Robert Cuccioli (who is currently caught up with performing in Off-Broadway's Enter the Guardsman). After playing the Phantom in the world premiere production at Houston's Theatre Under the Stars and recording the role for RCA Victor, he played Dr. Jekyll in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Curly in Texas Flyer and the title role in Zorro.
Yeston's Phantom, unlike Lloyd Webber's, builds a more complex plot than the original Gaston Leroux novel suggested, with a father-son relationship figuring heavily into this unrequited love story of a hideously deformed man yearning for his beautiful soprano student, Christine (Kristin Peterson).
Also in the cast are Ann Arvia (Carlotta), Joe Vincent (Gerard Carriere), Michael Ray Wisely, Richard Frederick and Jonathan Rhys Williams.
American Musical Theatre of San Jose associate artistic director Marc Jacobs directs. Musical direction is by Bill Liberatore.
Tickets are $55-$40. The San Jose Performing Arts Center is located at 255 Almaden Boulevard. For reservations, call (888) 455-SHOW.
-- By Christine Ehren