Chandelier set to rise for dazzling role

IT'S official. The musical with the big chandelier is about to hit the stage at Launceston's Princess Theatre with Encore Theatre Company yesterday revealing a dazzling 1.8-metre crystal- encrusted centrepiece for its upcoming production of The Phantom of the Opera.

While the original $1.3million chandelier for the Andrew Lloyd Webber smash hit musical may have dripped Swarovski crystals, Encore's 1.8-metre "electric light" still promises to dazzle in both size and opulence.

Sourced from the Miranda Musical Society in New South Wales, the chandelier will be hoisted and manoeuvred via a pulley system for some of the most poignant scenes that has made The Phantom of the Opera Broadway's most popular musical.

"This light is more paste than crystal and while we would have liked the Swarovski, our chandelier is still beautifully made," said Encore's artistic director, Belinda King.

As soon as Phantom was locked in for 2014, King and co-producer Jamie Hillard contacted ZFX Flying Systems in America to inquire about the availability of the original chandelier.

"Phantom is our most ambitious production yet and it would have been amazing to have the original chandelier, but while it was only $10,000 to hire, the logistical cost of getting the original chandelier operational on stage would have set us back about $100,000."

More than 1.5 tonnes of lavish costumes have been sourced from Newcastle for the production and the gondola is still in transit and expected to arrive on March 7.

Audiences will gain their first glimpse of the chandelier from the opening scene when the dilapidated Paris opera house is up for auction, before it comes crashing down at the end of Act One.

THE FACTS

WHAT: Phantom of the Opera, presented by Encore Theatre Company.

WHERE: Princess Theatre, Launceston.

WHEN: Friday, March 14 to March 29.

TICKETS: 6323 3666, the Princess Theatre box office or visit www.theatrenorth.com.au

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