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Bloomfield Hills actress' love never dies for "Phantom" sequel
Growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Alyssa Giannetti grew up obsessed with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom Of The Opera.”
So you can imagine how the music of the night sounds to her now.
The Andover High School alumna is in the midst of her first professional theater job as part of the North American tour of “Love Never Dies,” Webber’s sequel to “Phantom.” Giannetti has a swing role that includes some nights performing in the starring spot as Christine Daae — who she played in an Andover production of “Phantom” during her junior year.
“I’ve been obsessed with (‘Love Never Dies’) for ages, and I don’t think they realize they cast a superfan of the show,” Giannetti, 23, says by phone from Baltimore during previews for the “Lover Never Dies’” national tour. “When I was in ‘Phantom” was right around the time when ‘Love Never Dies’ cameo out on the West End (in Britain). I told my mom, ‘We have to go see this show!’ so we booked tickets for London and planned the whole trip — and it closed before we got there in the summer.”
“Lover Never Dies” has, in fact, had a troubled history since spring 2010.
Set a decade after the events of the original “Phantom,” and in Coney Island — where The Phantom lures Christine to perform at the amusement park Phantasma, which he operates — the show was raked by critics in London, while a planned Broadway run was canceled. It was retooled and had better luck in Australia during 2011-12, and has since played in Denmark, Austria, Japan and Germany before arriving in the U.S. last month.
As a fan, Giannetti understands the skepticism surrounding a “Phantom” sequel. But she quickly overcame it.
“The first production, ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ felt like it was finished,” she explains. “I didn’t think there would be more to the story — but there is. A lot can happen in 10 years, and we find out a lot about how everybody’s lives have changed, and the story evolves from there.
“So, yeah, I was a little skeptical, but of course I fell in love with it. And I think a lot of (‘Phantom’) fans will if they give it a chance.”
Giannetti’s own love affair with theater started late. The oldest of two children born to a fitness instructor mother and a father who’s in computer sales and now resides in Chicago, “didn’t have all the dance lessons and the voice lessons.” Instead, she was a competitive swimmer for much of her life and harbored a desire to be a psychologist. But her parents took her and her brother to productions at the Fisher Theatre and “were very insistent we experience the performing arts.”
But the “Phantom” experience at Andover “changed my life.”
“It was quite an experience to be up there, kind of addicting,” Giannetti says.
She attended a vocal arts program in that summer, studying opera, and decided to get out of the pool and onto the stage for good, starring in her senior year production of “Beauty & the Beast” and attending Northwestern University’s theater program.
Giannetti is well aware of the plum career start she’s making as part of “Love Never Dies” and is “grateful” to be back in the “Phantom” universe. It also sets a high bar for whatever she does in the future.
“I can die happy, is all I have to say,” she notes with a laugh. “The dream is fulfilled. I feel so lucky that it’s happening so early. The cast is so welcoming. You hear these horror stories of people’s first experiences on tour, but mine has been nothing but joyful and welcoming and so fun. It’s just been an absolute dream.”
If You Go:
• “Love Never Dies”
• Oct. 17-29.
• The Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit.
• Tickets are $39-$104.
• Call 313-872-1000 or visit broadwayindetroit.com.
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