The Column Online


by Maury Yeston & Arthur Kopit

Artisan Center Theater

Producer - Dee Ann Blair
Director - John Wilkerson
Stage Manager - Adam Livingston
Music Director - Richard Gwozdz
Choreographer - Jennifer Leyva
Costume Design - Jennifer Cadenhead, Nita Cadenhead
Asst. Stage Mgr. - Branson White
Set Designer - Jason Leyva
Light Design - Adam Livingston, Natalie Berry

CAST (production is double-cast)

Phantom/Erik - Kyle Holt
Christine - Amy Atkins
Phillipe - Andrew Guzman
Carriere - Bill Sizemore
Cholet - Zeke Branim
Carlotta - Carolyn Hohle
Jean Claude/Chorus - Cameron Allsup
Inspector LeDoux - Michael Williams
Joseph Bouquet/Policeman - Connor Thompson
Minister of Culture/Chorus - Gil Butler
Opera Tenor 1 - Billy Myers
Opera Tenor 2 - Alan Earl
Opera Divas - Annalee Herron and Jessica Mize
Fleure/Chorus - Jordan Thomas
Flora/Ballerina 2/Chorus - June Windsor
Florence/Chorus - Merideth Stowe
Policeman/Chorus - Robert Molina
Belladova/Chorus - Jamie Ecklund
Young Carriere/Chorus - Jacob Matheny
Ballerina/Chorus - Lorna Windsor
Young Erik - Colin Tooley
Chorus - Gena Robbins, Christi Herring, Julie Molina, Carolyn Robbins, Allison
Duncan, Kathrynne Myers, Noel Myers, Maddy Myers, Tabitha Silers

Reviewed Performance: 3/19/2011

Reviewed by Shelley Kaehr, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Dare I say ? they had me at hello? Well, they did. Anytime I can see a musical version of Phantom of the Opera or anything closely related to it, I'm there. Phantom, the current stage production of the Artisan Center Theater is not Phantom of the Opera, but a musical based on the Phantom of the Opera novel by Gaston Leroux.

Nothing against Andrew Lloyd Webber, who I love, but I believe I actually enjoyed this version of the story better. There are far more details, not to mention the fact that the last time I saw the traditional version was at Bass Performance Hall and the times before that at the Pittsburgh Opera House and on Broadway. We all know it's thrilling to see the spectacle up on a huge stage in bigger than life fashion, but the Artisan Center Theater provided me with a surround sound experience I will not soon forget.

I couldn't believe the troupe would attempt such a feat as this in such a small area, but they used every square inch to perfection. Chorus members were behind my seats, to each side and out in front, leaping from rafters, surprising the audience with every twist and turn of the plot. I sing the praises of Director John Wilkerson and Choreographer Jennifer Leyva for a job well done.

But the fun didn't stop there. The costumes were to die for. Jennifer Cadenhead and Nita Cadenhead splashed us with vibrant colors and textures to add to the overall experience.

The music was fantastic and the chorus did an amazing job. When you have a cast the size of this one, it's often tough to pick out the stellar performances, but I did take note of Diva Jessica Mize, and Chorus member Gena Robbins. Amy Atkins was a lovely and well cast Christine alongside her love Phillipe, well played by Andrew Guzman.

Kyle Holt's turn as Erik the Phantom was played with great emotional depth, supported superbly by Bill Sizemore as Carriere. One scene I loved in this version was when Carriere confessed he was Erik's father. Gosh I love drama! I had an instant flashback to the third installment of Star Wars when Darth Vader breaks the news to Luke Skywalker?

I absolutely love the phantom in any version of this story, but for once, I must say my favorite character in the Artisan version was by far the drama queen of the century, Carlotta, masterfully portrayed by Carolyn Hohle. Wow did she ever do a super job on this part! She stole the show, in my opinion. Let's face it ? it takes a TON of talent to act like someone who can't sing but thinks they can?yes, she was absolutely hilarious and over the top! Zeke Branim did a stellar job as her bend-over-backwards husband Cholet. It took some strong acting chops to stand up to Carlotta's pushy ways, and he did a super job.

The bottom line is ? I loved it! Artisan Theater Center boasts over a thousand season ticket holders and I can see why! This year their goal is to get up to 2000 and I wish them luck! Are you on their season ticket holder list? If not, you better get to it! This company has heart, soul and pizzazz, and I can't wait to see more of their productions. I wish I'd caught Prince Caspian while it was still there?alas! Perhaps next time.

Artisan Center Theater, 418 E. Pipeline Road, Hurst, TX 76053
Plays through April 23rd

Evening shows start at 7:30 pm with Saturday matinees s at 3:00 pm

Regular ticket prices Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are $12 for adults, seniors and students; children 12 and under are $7. Friday evening, Saturday matinee & evening tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students; children are $9.

For tickets and information, go to or call