The state-of-the-art auditorium at Putnam Valley High School has everything a theater needs, from top-notch lights and catwalks to ample space in the wings and comfortable seats for patrons.
This week, it also has a crystal chandelier, the iconic symbol of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera.”
It also has 15-year-old sophomore Dennis McNamara in the title role.
The phantom is a high tenor; McNamara is not.
“I’m a tenor-baritone and this part is truly for a tenor,” he says. “Having to sing things that are out of my range is challenging, and taxing, but I can do it.
“It is what it is,” he says. “It is ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ There are few spoken lines, except the first scene.”
“I think we all went into it knowing it was going to be a difficult show,” he says of his Putnam Valley High School castmates. “I think we all realized two or three weeks in that if we didn’t hunker down and really get this going, it was never going to hit Broadway-esque theater and entice people to come see it. It has been a lot of work, but I daresay this is the show we’re ready for.”
There have been sacrifices.
Coming into this final week of preparations, knowing that makeup artist George Croom would be applying layers of latex and prosthetics to transform him into a deformed musical madman, McNamara decided to shave his head to make makeup easier.
“I can only put it in barber’s terms,” he says. “Before I cut it, my hair was a four on the top and a two on the sides. Now it’s a zero on the top and a zero on the sides.”
The decision drew an immediate response when McNamara came to school yesterday.
“The initial reaction was for people to come up and attempt to touch me,” he says. “If it’s 6:55 in the morning, I don’t necessarily want people touching my head, but as the day wore on, I warmed to the idea of people getting in touch with the phantom.”
“The Phantom of the Opera,” 8 p.m., April 19, 20; 2 p.m., April 20.