Phantom at Derby Dinner

By Deborah Joyce Williams

An entertaining evening was provided at Derby Dinner Playhouse with impeccable service, a talented pre-show singing ensemble called the Barnstormers and the performance of Phantom. Every aspect of Phantom was like viewing the magic of the actors and actresses, the set designs, the costumes, and the music flow into a beautifully constructed oneness, the harmony displaying the talent that surrounded the production of Phantom.

Christopher Schaljo as the Phantom

Christopher Schaljo gave a spectacular performance as The Phantom/Erik. One of the most heartfelt songs was performed in The Phantom's Forest, entitled "My Mother Bore Me." Karen Floyd gave an equally dramatic performance as Christine Daae, the Phantom's protege as well as the woman he grows to love. The "Lessons" sung by Christine and The Phantom was followed by a beautiful song entitled "You Are Music." An equally touching song was performed by Schaljo and Paul Kerr who played Gerald Carriere, Erik's father. After Erik has been shot, it is with this song that Carriere tells him that he is his father. The reprise of "You Are Music" was performed solo by Christine as she hovers over the body of The Phantom. The entire scene was tragically beautiful and was such a success because I viewed tears in the eyes of an audience member. At this moment reality vanished and the audience became one with the actors, the situation, the death of The Phantom who had become someone real, someone named Erik.

As tragic as the story of Erik is, comic relief was provided by Cholet, the new manager of the Opera House, and Carlotta, his wife and the new diva, who cannot sing, is jealous of Christine, and who ultimately goes too far where The Phantom is concerned, after giving Christine a drink that enables her to only sing through part of a performance. After several pranks, Carlotta dies at the hands of The Phantom.

The set designs and the costumes were beautifully done, especially in Scene 1, Act 1, Avenue L'Opera and the song "Melodie de Paris." The vibrant colors of the costumes and the details such as the puppeteer and the clown made the song all the more enjoyable. The Phantom's Dungeon complete with the trap door, the chandeliers with candles dripping to the tallow, and smoke swirling around The Phantom's billowing cape, produced a stunning effect. Everything about the performance would definitely be ranked top quality.

Derby Dinner Playhouse is located at 525 Marriott Drive in Clarksville, Ind., 812-288-2636. Upcoming performances and their show dates are as follows: The Seven Year Itch, July 13-August 22; Nunsense, August 24-October 3; Guys and Dolls, October 15-November 14; The Sound of Music, November 16-January 2; Wife Begins At 40!, January 4-30, 1994; What a Way to Go, February 1-March 13, 1994; and South Pacific, March 15-April 24, 1994. Play packages with varied percentage savings are available for the above-listed plays.

Derby Dinner Playhouse is a recommended treat for anyone desiring a relaxing evening complete with dinner and a wonderful performance.