When Phantom of the Opera comes to DeVos Hall in May 2016, it will mark quite a few milestones for Grand Rapids theatre. What does this opportunity mean for Broadway Grand Rapids?
Phantom of the Opera is a singular event for Broadway Grand Rapids and the community. It will be the first time ever a show has been on stage at DeVos for two whole weeks — 16 performances — which means there’s more regional draw. We will have people coming to town throughout Michigan, probably Indiana, possibly Canada, Ohio. This is huge for our community. The second thing is that it’s a huge show in terms of its physical presence. There will be 18 semis coming to town unloading stage sets and costumes — like 300 tons worth.
What are some of the structural modifications planned in order to host Phantom of the Opera?
For this show to come here, DeVos Hall has to be modified, has to be upgraded. They’re things you wouldn’t see from your seat, but for the famous signature chandelier falls into the hall, we have to have structural steel put into the ceiling so everybody is safe when this dramatic collapse happens. All of the sets need a special reinforced stage to be able to hold the weight and to allow for sort of two levels of staging right there in front of you.
What’s the number-one reason hosting Phantom of the Opera is worth the $300,000 investment required to make those modifications?
$300,000 is a lot of money if we’re talking about out of your wallet or mine, but in terms of the total dollar impact in the community, it’s a drop in the bucket. It is a one-time investment that sets up the opportunity for many other shows like Aladdin or like Wicked or like Lion King to come here, too. You do this once and you can have all of those and that makes Grand Rapids competitive with any other markets in the Midwest.
Interview conducted and condensed by Anya Zentmeyer. Edited by Lindsay Patton-Carson