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Monday, May 20, 2024

Let the dream begin at UF this weekend when the longest-running show in Broadway history comes to campus for the first time.

The School of Music is presenting a semi-staged production of “The Phantom of the Opera” in the University Auditorium, and about 2,200 people are expected to attend the sold-out show.

“Our purpose is not to recreate what people have seen on Broadway,” said Anthony Offerle, the director of the UF Opera Theatre Program and a UF assistant professor of voice and opera.

Their purpose, Offerle said, is to take incredible music, fantastic singers and a wonderful orchestra to bring the story and magic of the Phantom to life.

Set primarily in late 19th-century France, the musical follows a Paris Opera House chorus girl, Christine Daaé, and her unusual relationship with the deformed, musical virtuoso known as the Phantom, who lives in the sewers underneath the Opera.

An unusual aspect to this production is that audience members will be seeing the Phantom from up close no matter where they’re sitting, as he will be appearing in random spots throughout the show, Offerle said.

Joshua Mazur, the 25-year-old UF voice and conducting graduate student playing the title role, said what makes the Phantom so universal is that everyone can relate to him.

“I find that while I, myself, am not totally deformed, I see in the faces of these people around the Phantom who are torturing him the faces of people in my life who have done that to me,” Mazur said. “The only question people should ask themselves is if they want to be moved, and if the answer is yes, then they should come.”

Despite having three performance times over the weekend, as of Wednesday, the show is completely sold out. Leah Craig, the public relations and marketing manager at the College of the Arts, said the show may have sold out quickly due to the name recognition.

“It’s unexpected and wonderful,” she said. “Everyone loves the ‘Phantom of The Opera,’ so I think that really contributed to the success of ticket sales.”

But for any theater aficionados still hoping to get tickets, there’s hope. The School of Music will be giving away one more ticket and the opportunity to purchase another ticket for a guest through one last “Phantom Fridays” trivia game on its Facebook page Friday at 3 p.m.

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