An interview with Sandra, written for Beneath The Mask
I know that some of the other characters ďcome backĒ as other characters later in the musical. What does the Princess come back as?
I am the Princess in the opening Hannibal scene. Later, I can be seen as the Bride Doll who pops out of the mirror in the Phantomís lair, I am on the staircase dressed in the Geloise costume which is red, white, and blue, I am part of the chorus in the Sitzbrobe scene, and I return as the Page boy in Don Juan.
What are some other things in theatre that you have done?
Some of my theatre credits are Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, Peep-Bo in The Mikado, Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Laurey in Oklahoma, and ensemble rolls in Godspell, Evita, and West Side Story. I have been on tour with Theatre on the Move, a childrenís theatre company, as well as Actsense Theatre for Young Audiences.
Out of all the roles that you have played, which is your favorite?
My favorite role to date is Carlotta. Itís both vocally and dramatically challenging. I think most performers would agree that a role which makes great demands on their skills is more exciting to play than one which doesnít provide a challenge.
What are some future roles you would like to play?
Some roles I hope to play in the future include Lily in The Secret Garden (the music is beautiful in that show), Magnolia in Showboat, and Christine in Phantom. In fact, I am soon to be starting work on Christine with the director and the choreographer. Hopefully by the next time contracts come up for renewal, I will be an understudy for the role.
What would you like to do after Phantom?
One of he most important things I would like to do after Phantom is have a family. Iím getting married this coming May and in a couple years would like to have children. This means taking time off from performing, however I donít think Iíll be getting right out of the business. I will start a vocal studio until such time as I can go back to the stage.
How did you get into singing? Was there anyone that inspired you?
My interest in singing began when I was a young child at home. On family trips, we would all break out into a version of When the Red, Red bobbin goes Bob Bob Bobbing Along, or a song about Charlie Chaplin that my Grandfather taught us. He was very musical and could play anything by ear on piano, violin, clarinet, or banjo. Both my Grandmothers were singers as well, they really inspired me. As for famous personalities, I spent many hours listening to Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland, and Ella Fitzgerald. They are a few of my all time favorites.
What kinds of courses did you take to get where you are?
I received my formal training at the Wilifred Lauier University in Waterloo, Ontario. It was primarily a classical music program in which the repertoire was made up of French, German, Italian, and English art songs and Opera arias. However, most of my training has come from stage experience in both community theatre and professional work.
What are some of the things that have gone wrong at different performances?
Before I joined Phantom, one of the performances held an extra surprise. During the auction, as you know, the chandelier is on stage. Well, at this particular show, the auctioneer called for a ďlittle illuminationĒ and got more than he was looking for. One of the sparks from the chandelier ignited the flash pots which are on stage, this caused the chandelier to catch on fire. Since Iíve been in the show, the most exciting thing to happen has been the cloth falling off the mirror as it enters the stage, leaving me exposed to the audience throughout the Music of the Night. It was a long time to hold perfectly still.
What is the quickest costume change you have to make?
The quickest costume change I have to make is as Carlotta, from the silver and black costume in the managerís scene to the big powdered wig and dress in the Il Muto scene. I believe we only have 32 seconds to make the change which happens on stage, behind the bed. It takes two wardrobe people and two wiggers to get me ready on time. It can be a frantic moment at times.
Why do you think people come again and again to see Phantom?
I think the reason why people keep coming to see Phantom is that it has so much entertainment value. When people attend the theatre, they like to be taken away from their everyday life and be drawn into another world for a few hours. Phantom is filled with romance, adventure, special effects. beautiful music, and heroic characters. I think it has something in it to please everyone. Itís like going on an adventure everytime you see it.
Do you think that Phantom is based on a true story?
I think Phantom is a terrific piece of fiction, in that it is set in an actual place with a sense of mystery about it. I donít think it is a true story, but part of itís appeal lies in the fact that it could be true!
I heard that the different productions have ďnicknames." What is Torontoís?
To the best of my knowledge, Torontoís Phantom does not have a nickname. Perhaps you and your friends at PAS could come up with a name for us.
What is your favorite part in Phantom?
My favorite part in Phantom is near the very end, at the moment when Christine kisses the Phantom. Iím rooting for him all the way! Perhaps that is why so many people keep returning to the show. They want to see if Christine will finally choose the Phantom.
After all that happened at the end of Phantom, do you think Carlotta kept singing at the Paris Opera?
After all that happened to Carlotta, I donít think she would be able to continue at the Paris Opera. I think she would go on a very long holiday back to Italy, and eventually try to pick up the pieces of her career.
What usually goes on during a performance day and what do you like to do in your spare time?
A regular performance day consist of a good breakfast, exercise, and a vocal warm up. In order to keep up the stamina to perform eight shows a week, we must take good care of ourselves. On a double show day, I try to make it home for dinner with my fiancť. Our schedules are quite opposite so we donít have a lot of time together. I am very fortunate to have such a supportive fiancť and family. They understand that I canít make it to every function due to my performance schedule. In my spare time I like to spend time with my nephews, and take them to the museum and such. I also enjoy going to the movies, playing the piano, reading, and painting ceramics.
With Bonnie, Beth and Christine |
With some friends |
With Becky and Beth
And a fan dressed up for the 9th anniversary Gala | With husband Paul
With fans before the 9th anniversary gala | Voices of Hope Benefit Concert
Sandra and some Phantom fans at the 9th anniversary Gala in Toronto. | Playbill picture
And a group of friends between shows (Sandra is the one in black on the left.)