New 'Phantom' Tour: This Time The Chandelier Means Business


Frank Tavera is as excited as the impresario in The Phantom of the Opera who is bursting with glee knowing he has a big fat hit on his hands.\

Or should it be called a “re-imagined hit?”

Waterbury’s Palace Theater, where Tavera has been the executive director for more than 15 years, is the only theater in Connecticut that is presenting the touring production of the musical, which runs Wednesday, Nov. 15 to Sunday, Nov. 26.


The show, after all, has been running on Broadway for 30 years as of this January. College kids who first embraced the show when it arrived in the U.S. are now more than 50 years old. The original leads—Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman—are now 75 and 57 respectively.

Its touring shows have been playing Connecticut for decades, beginning with a multi-week run at Hartford’s The Bushnell in the mid-’90s when Tavera began his career working in sales at the Bushnell for that show.

“It’s come full circle for me,” he interjects.

At that time the theater—and other venues across the country—had to have multi-million dollar renovations of its facilities to accommodate the exceptionally elaborate and lavish production.

But that production was so 20th century, says Tavera.

This touring show is an entirely new production, which received the blessing of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer Cameron Mackintosh.

This touring show, which has all the characters, music, and big moments of the original, has been refitted physically using the latest technology and projections, and features new special effects “that envelop the whole building,” says Tavera.

And the chandelier?

Remember in earlier productions how it crashed into the orchestra (albeit in a kind of clunky and slo-mo way)?