MEET PERRY LIU

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

As a parent, there is a truthfulness about Carrière story that really resonates with me, the difficulty of a parent trying to balance love and discipline of a child. He is a bit of a sad character as, deep down, he knows the unhealthy predicament he has created but he has yet to find the courage to break the pattern enabling. He is fueled by trying to make up for the poor earlier treatment of his child, and the woman he loved, but in doing so has allowed the situation to run amok. He knows he needs to stop, but the relationship has been going on for so long it makes it difficult to end the cycle.

Why did you become interested in this production?

A number of reasons, I liked the different take on the story that writers Yeston & Kopit have taken and showing a different side to the Gaston Leroux story and how it differs from the Webber/Hart/Stilgoe production currently running on Broadway. I also like the way that this character mirrors and contrasts with the last character I played, Archdeacon Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And finally, I wanted to work with the talented Eli Newsom.

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

I’d say the reconciliation is wonderful part and I also like to flashback to when he fell in love with Belladova, that’s a wonderful theatrical bit of storytelling.

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

I always loved the arts, all kinds. As a child I drew, I play acted and sang all the time. I put on performances for my parents and their friends and spent hours listening and singing to all the records that my mother would purchase through the mail order record club, which is how I discovered musicals. Yet I was a big Beatles fan and wanted to be in a rock band until I saw a Middle School production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. The following year I tried out for the G&S’s Pirates of Penzance, got the role of the Sgt of Police, and I was hooked. Finding theatre at that time was really important for a shy awkward middle schooler. It helped me with my confidence and identity. That’s why I fight so hard for Arts education in the schools. There are many different children out there looking for something to relate to, and sports doesn’t always do it for everyone. It’s important that we give our children a wide variety of opportunities to discover. More recently I was in DTC’s production of In The Heights where I played the father, Kevin Rosario. Being included in that production and playing that part was cathartic for me for my mother passed away at the same time. My mother and I had a rocky relationship but playing a parent who has a disagreement with his child helped me not only see things from a different point of view but help with the closure of her death. The emotion I was feeling overflowed into my performance which my mother would have loved as she adored my acting and participation in the theatre and would be so happy to know that I was performing.