Character Study: Watch Hugh Panaro Transform Into Erik aka “The Phantom of the Opera”
Hi my name is hugh Panero and I play Eric I who is also known as The Phantom
in the Phantom of the Opera here on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre. I do not usually count how many performances, I do but I have been told that on around the three thousand mark a thousand of those however were playing row so as the Phantom, I’m a heading year from the 2000 mark.
When I joined the company this dressing room was a dark, dark brown it was really sort of a man cave and I found it very depressing considering the fact that I spent all night in the dark you know bowels at the Paris Opera House. So when I took over this role I wanted a dressing room that was the antithesis my dog is my heart he keeps me centered, he has become a therapy dog for the company.
I really believe that people come here to see him more than they did to see me. Mom designer at the show Maria Bjornson her concept for Eric was that in effort to make himself look attractive to Christine, he models himself after Rudolph Valentino it is a kind of heightened a smoky eye on the cheeks are hollowed out and the lips or even dark very much like silent film movie makeup. I’ve been an actor since I’m twelve-years-old and I was always taught that part of your job as an actor is to learn how to do your own makeup, so it’s very hard for me to sit in the makeup chair for an hour and have someone just kind of do it all.
So I part of my process are becoming his character is actually doing some of my own makeup and then when we get to the ball cap and prosthetic pieces then the makeup artists will take over and but it’s definitely better collaboration, and by doing that I slowly transform into the character.
Eric and I are very different in one way Eric is very a in control, and sexy there is a moment in the family opera summer he is too literally caress himself and move his hands down his body in his hips. I always feel like Oh my god! This is so not me and I really identify with the appointed the more damaged kinda for repressed childlike quality in the characters, I think the scariest thing about playing this role and I think playing any role as an actor is to really be completely 100 percent vulnerable and let an audience see that side view once you put the makeup on and you get that mask on and you get the tight black pants on it’s amazing how much you become the character and Hugo’s away and the Phantom gets to take over.