By Kayla Daugherty

Madonna will be visited by an angel of music when “The Phantom of the Opera” opens on Kresge’s stage April 6. A cast of Madonna students and other community members alike make this production one that the theatre fans will not want to miss.

Due to the fact that Kresge Hall cannot hold the weight of a small boat, nor fit a massive chandelier, the musical will be approached in a different, less exuberant way. 
Director Barbara Wiltsie decided after talking with seasoned choreographer Wendy Kwiatkoski, to utilize a kind of “black box” format focusing more on the drama, costumes and music. Despite the simplistic black box format, the show is expected to be the best one performed on Kresge to date.

“Our production will contain all the beautiful music, singing and costumes that are seen on the professional stage,” said Wiltsie.

Andrew Neer, better known on stage as the Phantom, further describes the musical set up as intimate.

“You are literally right next to the action just about anywhere you sit in the audience,” described Neer. “It isn’t too often that this show focuses completely on the acting and singing because the spectacle of the stage can mask (no pun intended) some really great performances. We are completely exposed and invite the audience right into our hearts and minds; it is a totally awesome and different Phantom than people are used to.”

Neer couldn’t resist the opportunity to play the title role of the Phantom despite his busy schedule and current goal of earning his second Masters of Music, this time in conducting, in addition to one in composition.

Another Music student, this time at Madonna, is quite familiar with performing on stage. The part sophomore Vocal Performance and Spanish double major Aaron W von Allmen loves the most about this production is learning from all the other actors. Just like every other college student, Von Allmen has to sacrifice sleep many nights.

“I’m in school full-time and I also have a job full-time outside of performing. When do I sleep? I don’t. But going after my dreams is worth every lost hour of sleep,” said Von Allmen.

Von Allmen earned the role of Raoul, Christine Daae’s childhood sweetheart in “The Phantom of the Opera”, his self-admitted dream show.

Due to the vocal demands placed on the actress playing Christine Daae, this role was double cast, allowing both Anna Dreslinksi and Lauren Mallie to portray the young talent.

The Vocal Performance major from Schoolcraft College, Mallie has always wanted to portray Christine in this musical. Traveling just a few miles down the road to Madonna had made this dream a reality and the experience has been great.

“I really enjoy the company of all the talented people I get to share this experience with, and the amazing music I get to sing! I know this show is going to be great with the great energy, beautiful voiced and acting,” said Mallie.

Although new to Kresge’s stage, Dreslinski is no stranger to the theater. She has performed in various plays and musicals throughout high school and though she never had formal training before enrolling at Madonna, she was prepared to lead when she arrived as a freshman this year. 

As a vocal performance major, she is required to have so many credit hours of lyric theatre but credit fulfillment was not what drew her to this musical.

“When I heard that the show would be the Phantom, I knew I couldn’t miss being a part of it in anyway,” said Dreslinski. “The show is timeless, a classic no matter how it is put on. It is incredible.”



An angel of music visits Madonna University