HiLIFE | MUSIC
Mike Burley / firstname.lastname@example.org
Cris Groenendaal, left, Craig Schulman, and Kevin Gray, who have each starred in "The Phantom of the Opera" musical, performed at Clear Channel's Road Runner Music Hall during the Perry and Price show at the KSSK studios last Friday.
Music of the night
'Three Phantoms' bring Broadway to Honolulu
What a bunch of troupers!
Considering that singing trio Craig Schulman, Cris Groenendaal and Kevin Gray were still a bit jet-lagged from their mainland flight to Honolulu, it was notable that they were still able to draw a standing ovation from the audience at Clear Channel's Road Runner Music Hall last Friday during the Perry and Price live radio morning show.
RETURN OF THE THREE PHANTOMS
Place: Hawaii Theatre
Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $25, $40, $60 and $75
Call: 528-0506 or visit www.hawaiitheatre.com
The drama of the Paris Opera House came alive during their closing rendition of "Music of the Night" -- the signature tune to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" -- as the audience was held in rapt attention with their assured vocal deliveries, each singing in the guise of the title character that they've collectively portrayed for many years.
And starting this weekend, the "Three Phantoms" will sing that and other popular Broadway melodies in three shows at the Hawaii Theatre. Each singer performed in a variation of the popular show that first played here back in '06.
Groenendaal, in fact, played the title role in a touring company that visited the Blaisdell Concert Hall twice in the 1990s. Schulman, the show's creator, also did a couple of tour stops at the concert hall during that same decade, singing the role of Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables." And Gray portrayed the villainous Scar in last year's long-running touring production of "The Lion King."
The trio will be accompanied on piano by Broadway music director (and Groenendaal's wife) Sue Anderson. Plus, Ballet Hawaii will dance a special "Masquerade" from the musical during the program, accompanied by theater organist Don Conover and percussionist William Wiley.
EVEN THOUGH the shows will expectedly conclude with songs from "Phantom," everything else about them will be new.
"These are songs that we consider fun to sing," said Schulman, "and some we wouldn't usually do in our theater work."
While the trio's shows over the years have included both six-piece bands and entire orchestras, they enjoy the intimacy of singing with lone accompaniment as well. "It allows for changes we sometimes do at the last minute," said Gray.
"Since we, individually, usually sing alone or with a leading lady as lead male singers, it's always fun to do this together," he said. "Plus, we've gotten to know each other well over the years, so there's always banter between us, and we also bring a history of musical theater with us on stage."
And while the hits on the Great White Way in recent years have skewed younger music-wise, there's still enough contemporary material to incorporate into the concerts.
Besides performing tunes from such perennials as "Guys and Dolls," "Man of La Mancha," "The Music Man," "Annie Get Your Gun," "South Pacific" and "CATS," the men will also be singing such tunes as "Muddy Water" from "Big River," "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup" ("And the World Goes 'Round") and "Anthem" ("Chess").
"Cris and I will also be doing a song called 'You're Nothing Without Me' from 'City of Angels,'" Schulman said. "The set-up is it's a duet between a writer, adapting his crime novel for a screenplay during the Hollywood of the 1940s, and his lead detective character."
Schulman has also created a storyline that threads through the show. He defines it as "a day in the life of a musical theater actor as performed in song. As an introduction, we examine the process of auditioning and competing against friends, like ourselves, for jobs, and how we keep our egos in check.
"I promise you a meaty musical evening," he said.