6th January – THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
On the stage – for TWELVE weeks – THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – In 1984, Andrew Lloyd Webber contacted Cameron Mackintosh, the co-producer of Cats and Song and Dance, to propose a new musical. He was aiming for a romantic piece, and suggested Gaston Leroux’s book The Phantom of the Opera as a basis. They screened both the 1925 Lon Chaney and the 1943 Claude Rains motion picture versions, but neither saw any effective way to make the leap from film to stage. Later, in New York, Lloyd Webber found a second-hand copy of the original, long-out-of-print Leroux novel, which supplied the necessary inspiration to develop a musical: “I was actually writing something else at the time, and I realised that the reason I was hung up was because I was trying to write a major romantic story, and I had been trying to do that ever since I started my career. Then with the Phantom, it was there!”
This was the first visit to Southampton of what was becoming the most successful musical of all time, which premiered in London’s West End in September 1986. This major touring production starred Mike Sterling as ‘The Phantom’, a role he would go on to play for over 1000 performances on tour and in the West End. Playing Christine was Deborah Dutcher, who had played the role in both the German and Flemish productions and was featured on the cast albums. Later in the year she transferred to the West End production as Christine.
31st March – TANGO PASSION
On the stage – for TWO nights – TANGO PASSION – In 1982, many years after their triumph on Broadway with Hector Orezzoli and Claudio Segovia’s legendary Tango Argentino, producer Mel Howard and José Libertella (co-director with Luis Stazo of the orchestra Sexteto Mayor) decided to create a new, and totally innovative, tango spectacle — to be much more than a variety show. Mel Howard and José Libertella, accompanied by choreographer Hector Zaraspe and painter Ricardo Carpani, spent months in Buenos Aires developing a show that would weave together numerous tango stories. During this process, they uncovered a cast of fabulous dancers representing the full range of Argentine society. the result: Tango Pasión, which launched in a modest theatre in Miami, Florida, and moved to Broadway before touring the world to critical acclaim. This is their first visit to Southampton.