Steve Blanchard in Ken Hill's Phantom of the Opera Steve Blanchard as The Phantom

Steve Blanchard as The Phantom

From 1989 - 1992, Steve Blanchard played The Phantom in Ken Hill's original Phantom of the Opera.  Hill's production is often described as "a funny, immensely enjoyable tongue-in-cheek version of Leroux's story, poking fun at the melodrama, and the pretensions of the opera world" and "a mixture of farce, pantomime and tongue-in-cheek medodrama - with some serious and tragic undertones provided by the 'straight' roles of the Phantom and Christine."  Some claim that, "If it weren't for Ken Hill's Phantom, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom might never have come into existence."

Comparisons to Lloyd Webber's Phantom are inevitable.  "This is not Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London-Broadway, multi-million-dollar, press-hyped hit.  Evidently, however, nobody told Steve Blanchard, who seems to believe he’s in the Lloyd Webber show.  As the Phantom, a disfigured monster who haunts the Paris Opera.  Blanchard plays it straight and plays it so successfully that he might be doing the Hill as a trial run for the Lloyd Webber."

- The Indianapolis News

Steve Blanchard as The Phantom

"As for the dreaded Phantom – or O.G. (Opera Ghost) as he signs his threatening notes – Steve Blanchard sings him with impressive crescendo, diminuendo, fortissimo, pianissimo, as he stalks in swirling cape, concealing hat and frightening mask."

- Drama-Logue

Steve Blanchard as The Phantom

"Blanchard can make his melodious speaking voice sing rapturously then suddenly explode in neurotic rage."

-Paul Gerard, The Journal

"...a powerful, sympathetic characterization."

- Joan Bunke

"Steve Blanchard plays the Phantom with an understanding for the poor soul, and strikes a fine balance between the oppressor and the oppressed."

"Blanchard and Baxter share the most powerful moment of the show, in which the Phantom and Christine sing together when the Phantom is dying.  The scene has all the ingredients of high-octane theater."

- Paul Gallagher

Steve Blanchard and Rebecca Baxter
Steve Blanchard (The Phantom) 
and Courtenay Collins (Christine)
Photo by Chris Monteleone

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