Phantom needs lots of coffee

Earl Carpenter (left) will team up with Kieran Brown (centre) and David Shannon (right) in A Night At The Musicals With Three Phantoms.
Earl Carpenter (left) will team up with Kieran Brown (centre) and David Shannon (right) in A Night At The Musicals With Three Phantoms.PHOTO: GINGER BOY PRODUCTIONS

Actor Earl Carpenter, who has starred in The Phantom Of The Opera musical, believes in having a lot of java to keep his vocal cords strong and smooth

8Q

British actor Earl Carpenter, in his 25-year career on the stage, has played many iconic roles, including the title role in The Phantom Of The Opera, Inspector Javert in Les Miserables as well as both Gaston and Beast in Disney's Beauty And The Beast.

He has had a particularly long association with The Phantom, giving more than 1,000 performances at the West End in 2005.

It is no surprise then that he is one of the three Phantoms at A Night At The Musicals With Three Phantoms at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp on May 12 and 13.

  • BOOK IT / A NIGHT AT THE MUSICALS WITH THREE PHANTOMS

  • WHERE: MES Theatre at Mediacorp, 1 Stars Avenue

    WHEN: May 12 and 13, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $68 to $158 for a VIP ticket (includes a drink and meet-and-greet pass) from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)

Carpenter, alongside two other former Phantoms - Kieran Brown and David Shannon, will belt out classic numbers from the musical. The three will share the limelight with four other West End and Broadway performers - Alistair Barron, Olivia Brereton, Marisa McIntyre and Lisa-Anne Wood - as they also sing tunes from other musicals such as Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Cats and Wicked.

"It's a combination show where all the songs the performers sing relate to their CV, whether they performed on the West End, Broadway or internationally," says Carpenter, 46, who came up with the idea for the show with his good friend and fellow performer John Owen-Jones, who has performed in the show's other stagings.

"The production is not just about us singing songs. There will be humour, too, as the audience gets a whiff of the performers' personalities, rather than just the characters they play."

He is creative director of Ginger Boy Productions, which produces the show.

Started in 2008, A Night At The Musicals With Three Phantoms has played in Britain, Scandinavia and Dubai. It is making its second Asian stop here after Macau.

1 How did you end up in the industry of song and dance?

I trained as an actor. My teachers hated musicals and would call them "counter-acting". But I have always loved listening to the songs and, after a couple of years of wondering what to do after graduation, I found myself auditioning for musicals.

2 When did you first watch or listen to The Phantom Of The Opera?

My father brought back my very first stereo when I was 15 and I got a cassette tape of The Phantom Of The Opera's songs. I just loved listening to it again and again.

3 You will be returning to Singapore soon after this show for the restaging of the local musical Forbidden City: Portrait Of An Empress, in which you will be playing journalist George Morrison. You were in Singapore last year, too, as part of the Les Miserables production. You cannot seem to keep away from Singapore, can you?

Funny story that I did not know about till last year: I was made in Singapore.

My mother told me that she was pregnant with me when my dad was based in the navy here, to which I replied jokingly: "TMI (too much information), mum."

4 The Phantom Of The Opera and Les Miserables have been called the best musicals of all time. Do you agree?

They are indeed incredible musicals and have lasted the test of time.

It will be nice to see new musicals come through, though. This needs to be encouraged and is not happening enough.

When you go to the theatre districts of various cities, it looks the same as the last city with the same crop of musicals being shown. I find that a bit dull.

5 What is a dream role you would like to take on?

Miss Trunchbull in Matilda The Musical, based on Roald Dahl's children's novel. She's a real caricature and one character I want to play.

6 Have you ever turned down a role?

No. Work is work and I'm a free- lance, self-employed individual. I believe that you don't turn things down as you never know where they will lead. I always make sure that I say yes.

7 How do you keep your vocal cords strong and smooth?

Lots of coffee and not worrying about it. I tend not to dwell on it and just get on with it.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who loves his work and is not afraid of rolling up his sleeves and doing the job or just taking on any idea and running with it.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2017, with the headline 'Phantom needs lots of coffee'. Print Edition | Subscribe