'Phantom' star Eryn LeCroy to perform at Broadway Israel

‘The Phantom of The Opera’ star Eryn LeCroy brings her voice, Broadway experience and a little faith to the Holy Land.

 ERYN LECROY: I would say that Eliza Doolittle, from ‘My Fair Lady’ and Christine Daaé in ‘The Phantom of The Opera’ are probably the two largest female roles in the musical theater canon. (photo credit: MATTHEW MURPHY)
ERYN LECROY: I would say that Eliza Doolittle, from ‘My Fair Lady’ and Christine Daaé in ‘The Phantom of The Opera’ are probably the two largest female roles in the musical theater canon.
(photo credit: MATTHEW MURPHY)

Eryn LeCroy is living and entertaining proof that dreams can come true. The 31-year-old New York-resident and singer is due over here soon to perform in the Broadway Israel show that will be doing the rounds here March 23-April 4.

The repertoire for the production takes in enduringly popular, and eminently hummable numbers from such musical theater box office hits as Funny Girl, Les Misérables, Cabaret, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Phantom of the Opera. That promises a veritable musical tour de force for audiences in Kfar Saba, Yavneh, Kiryat Motzkin and Tel Aviv, with LeCroy appearing alongside Israeli theater and concert performer Isaac Sutton.

The LeCroy-Sutton synergy is the latest in a series of musical number-based productions here, in which Sutton teams up with leading female vocalists from Israel and abroad.

The American singer’s dream began a lifetime ago, actually half her lifetime ago. “My dad took the family to London, I think I was about 14, and I saw The Phantom of The Opera there on September 20 [2005],” she recalls. Fast forward exactly one decade and a heart attack was duly in the offing. “I had been auditioning on and off for The Phantom of The Opera for about three years. When it finally came about, my agents got me into their office. At that point, I had been waiting for the answer for a couple of weeks and it was down to choosing me or two other girls.”

LeCroy was not letting her expectations go too high. “They had sent our tapes to [composer] Andrew Lloyd Webber and [producer] Cameron Mackintosh for their final approval. I’ll be honest, I was suppressing any kind of hope because, if it didn’t work out, I didn’t want to be so incredibly crushed.” As a surreptitiously taken video clip accessible online clearly shows when she got the word that the part was hers. Her joy was unbounded. In fact, she looked like she was going to take off, literally. “I thought I was coming to my agent’s office for a completely unrelated meeting. They surprised me with what I thought was some paperwork I had to fill out for the bank.” Instead, it was a letter informing her she’d got the role.

People wait in line for the TKTS box office for Broadway and off-Broadway shows in Times Square in New York City, US, December 16, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON)People wait in line for the TKTS box office for Broadway and off-Broadway shows in Times Square in New York City, US, December 16, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON)

Here comes the anniversary serendipity bit. “That was on September 20. That was exactly 13 years later, after I first saw the musical,” she laughs. “It was just meant to be I guess.”

Although, by this time, she had accrued time on the road, in various productions around the United States, this entailed moving into a different league entirely. “It’s a massive role,” she states. “I would say that between Eliza Doolittle, from My Fair Lady, and Christine Daaé in The Phantom of The Opera, I think they are probably the two largest female roles in the musical theater canon.”

That doesn’t just apply to the star factor. They are physically grueling parts, and LeCroy says she has to keep on her toes and in shape to stay the course. “Christine almost never leaves the stage [during the show]. In Act 1, she has one break that’s maybe 15 minutes, and the show is two and a half hours. The only time I have a moment to go back to my dressing room is in that 15 minute break or during the intermission. Most of the time, anytime I’m off stage, I’m changing my costume and then I go back on stage. It’s a lot.”

AND THAT’S not all. “One thing in addition to that, besides the role being so massive – it’s completely sung – Christine wears pretty heavy costumes. The wedding dress at the end of the show weighs 30 pounds (about 13.5 kg.). Not only is it a marathon of singing, it’s a physical marathon as well.”

LeCroy makes sure she can do her numbers justice, while managing her hefty threads. “I find myself in the gym a lot,” she chuckles, “training and cardio training for the show.”

Another noteworthy element to the LeCroy-Phantom story is that the singer was far from being even a twinkle in her parents’ eyes when the show premiered at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, in October 1986.

LeCroy sees no problem on the chronology front, in terms of her own involvement in the production and the ability to convey the storyline to younger patrons. And that is even without relating to the fact that the book on which the musical is based dates back over a century, with French author Gaston Leroux’s novel first seeing the light of day, as a serial in the Le Gaulois daily newspaper, in September 1909. “This is a timeless love story. This one involves a love triangle, with the Phantom and Raoul and Christine,” she notes.

It is, LeCroy feels, a sure recipe for universal appeal. “I think everybody connects to it because we all have an innate desire to be loved, and to have relationships. And I think at some point in our lives, we have faced some kind of rejection, so I think people, in that sense, relate to the Phantom in some aspect – feeling unloved and unwanted.”

That age, culture, walk-of-life and crossover appeal also translates into box office and other returns. Thus far The Phantom of The Opera has played to over 140 million people in 35 countries worldwide, and has grossed over $6 billion in revenue.

LeCroy is delighted to be bringing her experience of being in such a successful showbiz venture to this part of the world. As a devout Christian, she feels grateful to be blessed with what she neatly alliteratively calls her “God-given gift”, and is champing at the bit to come over to visit Israel to entertain us and, hopefully, get out and about a bit. “This is my first time coming to Israel and I am very excited. I am a Christian and I am just so thrilled to see some of the places where Jesus walked, and to see some of the places where his disciples walked. I’ve read about all of that in the Bible.”

That said, she is perfectly aware that there is more to Israel than Christianity, and that other religionists and non-believers can also have memorable experiences over here. “I have spoken to a lot of people, including non-Christians, people who believe in other things, and people who don’t consider themselves religious in any way. They all say similar things that visiting Israel was such a profound experience for them, an emotional experience, a spiritual experience.”

The Broadway Israel show audiences will, surely, also get a thrill or two when they catch LeCroy and Sutton doing their thing.

For tickets and more information: *3221 and https://bravo.ticketsnow.co.il.