FORT GIBSON — A high school auditorium becomes an opera house with a secret when Fort Gibson High School presents “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Gibson High School Auditorium.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available at the door.

“The Phantom of the Opera” holds the record for Broadway’s longest-running musical, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. It is based on the 1909 French novel about a mysterious phantom, lurking in the Paris Opera House, who beguiles a member of a chorus.

FGHS senior Britton Vanlandingham plays Erik, the mysterious Phantom, and feels a link with his character.

“I make somewhat of a connection with the Phantom. He’s an introvert, but he is absolutely in love with magic and mystery,” Vanlandingham said. “He’s just a man who had a rough childhood, which had an impact on him.”

Born with a facial deformity, Erik spends his childhood sheltered from the outside world.

“He grew up in an opera house,” Vanlandingham said. “He’s a genius who becomes a musical expert. He considers himself the owner of the opera house. If anything is not to his specifications, he’ll write what they need to do ... and bad things can happen if they don’t do it.”

The Phantom falls for opera chorus member Christine Daae, played by junior Kaitlyn Lundy.

“My big challenge has been getting over stage fright and singing in front of an audience,” Lundy said. “This show has helped me build confidence in acting and singing.”

Lundy has taken voice lessons since she was 9, under noted opera singer Barbara McAlister.

“Playing Christine is a dream come true,” Lundy said. “Since the sixth grade, Phantom has been my favorite show. I had the script memorized.”

Auburn Kirkhart, who plays opera choreographer Madame Giry, also touted Phantom as her favorite musical.

She said Madame Giry is the most challenging part she’s ever had.

“She’s a very different, dark character,” Kirkhart said. “She actually brought the Phantom to the opera house when he was a little boy.”

Kirkhart said her fellow students worked hard in the production.

“Our cast worked really well together as a whole,” she said. “From the smallest character, you can see talent in everyone here.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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