MEET CARLY CALLAHAN

Tell us about your character. (What you like about your character, their strengths/weaknesses, similarities between you and your character, etc.)

Carlotta is the quintessential operatic diva; demanding, egomaniacal, and at times, ridiculous.  When we first meet her in this production, she has finally made it to what and where she has always aspired to, the star of the Paris Opera, thanks to her husband’s acquisition of the house and her own ambition.  Her self-professed star quality is, unfortunately, only apparent to Carlotta and her husband, Cholet. In reality, she is lacking in vocal prowess and is quickly outdone by the diminutive and unassuming Christine. It is so interesting to explore how Christine is the one to finally hold the “mirror” up to Carlotta, showing the diva that she isn’t quite who and what she believes herself to be. Ultimately, Carlotta’s lack of self-awareness leads to her undoing and a fabulously dramatic ending (you’ll have to come to the show to see what I mean, but it’s spectacular)!  I think we all know a Carlotta in some form, and she is indeed a character that the audience will hopefully love to hate!

Why did you become interested in this production?

I grew up with the Webber Phantom of the Opera and was a huge fan. As a child, I had the honor of performing in the production of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Magdalena at Lincoln Center with Judy Kaye, who went on to win the Tony for her portrayal of Carlotta in the original production and vividly remember visiting her backstage. When I read that Downtown Cabaret was producing the Yeston Phantom, I immediately listened to Carlotta’s song, “This Place is Mine”. I knew the minute I heard the piece that I had to learn it and add it to my book. I was thrilled to get cast in the role and love digging into her character. This “Phantom” goes deeper into the relationships between these iconic characters, and it is a joy to be a part of this production.

Is there a favorite dramatic/character moment for you in the show for your character?

It’s hard to pick a favorite – but in “This Place Is Mine” Carlotta laments that a “diva’s work is never done” but that “from every toilet bowl to every leading role, this place is mine”! Every time I sing those lines, I smile – because I know that although the audience sees the glamour of the end product, what goes into to a role and a show is often quite the opposite!

The message of PHANTOM is that music can alleviate the pain of life. How has theatre/the arts helped you during hard times?

I have a hard time imagining my life without music; it transports us, communicates what cannot be spoken, gives us an escape, and brings us together in a way that nothing else does. Christine’s connection to the Phantom is beautiful, and the thread that is created between the two characters, with music as the conduit, is gorgeous to witness, in spite of my character’s best efforts to the contrary!