Phantom role that singer Katie seemed fated to play
FROM a bootcamp contestant on an ITV programme to the female lead in one of the most loved musicals of all time, Katie Hall has had a busy few years.
The young actress will perform as Christine Daaé in Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera which makes its home in Bristol for six weeks.
And with opera singers for parents it would seem the musically challenging role is one she was fated to play.
She says: "How I got the part is a bit of a long story. I went along to an audition for I'd Do Anything, which was show to find a Nancy for Oliver! I was the posh girl who wanted to play Nancy and I made it down to the final 42.
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"While I was doing that I was spotted by someone from Cameron's office. They were looking for an understudy for Christine for the show in town."
The then 17-year-old left school and moved to London to join the production. She then won the part of Cosette in Les Miserables and was part of both the London production and the 25th anniversary tour.
"I went back to playing Christine for two shows a week in town and then I was taken out for this touring production."
The much-loved musical weaves the story of a mystical phantom who lives beneath the majesty and splendour of the Paris Opera House.
Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, he hides from all but falls in love with his beautiful protégée Christine. He captivates and tortures her in equal measure encouraging her talent but desperate to win her heart by any means.
Katie will play the role for six performances out of eight against fellow Les Miserables actor John Owen-Jones.
She says: "It's emotionally and physically very draining. Christine goes on such a journey we have an alternate who performs for some of the shows. It's great because it means I got to see it.
"One of the great things for me being involved in the show for the last four years is that I've learned so much. I really think my acting has improved and I've worked with amazing directors. I had to learn to dance en pointe too. I know that Christine is a challenging role in terms of singing but I think the acting has a big part to play in giving her story meaning. If anyone who saw me acting when I was 17 saw me now I think they would see I have changed a lot.
"John played my dad in Les Miserables which is a bit weird. I called him Papa as a nickname but we both laughed about how that wouldn't really work for this show!"
For both John and Katie the new production of Phantom is a chance to reinvent their characters and give new depth to the popular story.
"I think you go a lot deeper into the story," Katie says.
"It's not just a handsome prince, a princess and a monster. The characters are more real and it's a lot more intimate.
"I find the story so beautiful – it's a gothic romance and you really connect with the characters through the stunning music."
The Phantom of the Opera will be at The Bristol Hippodrome from Tuesday, May 22, to Saturday, June 30. Tickets cost £21 to £56. Tel 0844 871 3012.