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Phantom of the Op’ry

Lathrop High School play ‘too good to be true’

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Phantom of the Op’ry

Students take the stage one last time during Thursday’s performance of “Mad Woman” by the Lathrop High students at the school’s Performing Arts Building.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED November 30, 2012 1:03 a.m.

LATHROP – As Christine Swansong, Gabby Ortiz is too good to be true.

She’s the heroine in Lathrop High’s Intermediate Theater class production of “The Phantom of the Op’ry.”

Ortiz and Arvin Aragon, who plays the hero Lt. Farleigh Good, close out the play based on the book by Tim Kelly, performing the song, “Too Good to be true.”

In “Phantom of the Op’ry,” the entire LHS Speech Arts building doubles as the Skunk Creek’s Op’ry House.

It’s there that Eric DeLeon as Eric Dibble – or the Phantom – performs the opening number, “I enjoy being a Ghoul.” He’s actually seated in the audience, making his way on to the stage in song.

Drama teacher Dianna Puett calls this fall production a mini-musical of sort. “It’s a stretch for some of us but that’s OK. (In the play) no one can sing,” she said.

However, Ortiz, Aragon, DeLeon and the “Patrons of the Arts” duo of Ebony Corner (Felix Chinstrap) and Jabreel Bevel (Frank Van Loon) are among the exceptions.

Ortiz is in her second term in theater while Aragon also performed in such plays as “Stirring up Trouble,” “Picture Perfect Love,” and “The Talk,” to name a few.

Corner and Bevel had parts in “Stirring up Trouble.” Deleon played a suitor in last year’s spring musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

“The Phantom of the Op’ry” is melodramatic parody of “Phantom of the Opera.” Yet there’s plenty of backstage drama involving the likes of stage dads’ Mr. Barracuda (Brandon Palacpac) and Mr. Swansong (Chris Consul), diva Carlotta Barracuda (Shannon Sandoval Ortiz), and new Op’ry House owner Luis Pampermouse (Ahmed Elsharif).

Swansong is the understudy to Carlotta Barracuda, who is the star attraction of the Op’ry House but not to the Phantom.

Pampermouse (Elsharif) has other ideas. He would prefer to start the new Op’ry House season with vaudeville sideshow acts rather than the usual song and dance.

The Phantom (DeLeon), meanwhile, wants Barracuda (Sandoval Ortiz) out of the picture in favor of the far more talented Swansong (Ortiz). But he also wants to make Swansong his personal song bird, kidnapping the aspiring starlet and taking her into his netherworld of the Op’ry House.

Not too far away are Lt. Farleigh Good, Swansong’s love, and Deputy Junior Hampster (Marshal Romo). Good (Aragon) pursues the suspect (Leo Fernandez) in a chase scene that takes place along aisles of the LHS theater not to mention a few row of seats.

The play continues today (7 p.m.) and Saturday (noon) at LHS, 647 Spartan Way in west Lathrop.

Audience participation is encouraged. “One can never be sure if the person in the next seat is another audience member or part of the cast,” Puett said.

Freddie Ortiz and Rosie Ramirez will cue it up, holding up signs as when to “cheer,” “boo,” or belt out an “awww.”

Tickets are $5 for general admission, and $3 for seniors, children under 12, and students with an ASB card.

For more information, call 209-938-6350.

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