Spooky theatre superstitions

The Phantom of the Opera’s lead characters talk taboos and age-old adages that are observed by theatre folks throughout the world

TRUE: It is bad luck to wish someone ‘good luck’ in theatre; the right way to say it is ‘break a leg’ 

Brad: It’s kind of a taboo- thing. I don’t know what the history of it is. But you generally don’t ever say “good luck”. It’s very interesting because ‘Toi Toi Toi’ is used in opera, ‘Merde!’ is used in ballet, ‘Chookas’ is Australian, ‘Break a leg’ is American, ‘Hwaiting!’ (Fighting!) is Korean and so forth [are used instead of ‘good luck’].

FALSE: The theatre is always closed one night a week for the “ghosts” to perform their own plays 

Brad: Never heard of that one.
Claire: I think [it is] to give us a rest! (Laughs)
Brad: We have to have a day off. But I like the idea, sure, give the ghosts a chance to perform… (

TRUE: It is bad luck for actors to whistle on and off the stage 

Claire: Yeah, nobody whistles. The fly system used to operate via whistling to each other. If you whistle, the person on-top will drop the set piece so that could be on the wrong time. You do not whistle even if they’re no longer operated that way anymore.
Brad: And you’re supposed to go outside the room, turn around three times and say a curse word or something like that, and you come back in [if you whistle].

TRUE: Never bring peacock feathers on stage (part of costume, prop or part of set) as that brings chaos to the theatre 

Brad: A fan of mine once sent me flowers with peacock feathers and I thought it was crazy when one of the crew came into my dressing room and told me to throw them away. The show started and there was a lot of pyrotechnics used in it. In one part of the show the guy sets off the wrong pyros – on a stage full of actors – and it started to burn some of the cast. We had to send some of them including our Christine to the hospital. So now, I will never allow peacock feathers in the theatre.
Claire: I just remembered on opening night in Sydney, someone was giving out peacock feathers as gifts. That night, our set had a huge malfunction where our interval was 40 minutes long and the curtains on the set wasn’t working so maybe…

TRUE: It is bad luck to say the word ‘Macbeth’ on stage 

Claire: That was hard ‘cos I’ve done a lot of opera and I’ve been in Lady Macbeth. And so we’d always say ‘Lady M’ – we won’t actually say the full thing. But I learnt about that when I did that opera.
Brad: You don’t even tempt that one. You don’t - no matter what. The horror story behind that superstition is too scary. Literally, you’ve had people die on stage [if they say it].

- Joanna Goh, Xin MSN Entertainment


Phantom of the Opera Singapore
Media Preview Performances


The Grand Theatre at Marina Bay Sands
1) The entrance where the ticket booths are. A TV plays out the commercial (with the South Africa cast) on loop at the right. After getting bags inspected and shown through by the guards, you can see some cocktail tables where you can chill with some snacks and drinks. Food and beverage counters are just nearby.  
2) and 3) There are two merchandise booths, a larger store before the entrance and a kiosk (pictured) inside. The only unique Singapore souvenirs here are the SG Phantom shirt and the lion cub stuff toy. That lion cub costs 40 SGD btw. I am still trying to process that. Most of the souvenirs were sold in Manila, but in more exorbitant prices. Brad and Claire’s albums are also available along with the London OCR. No signs of Love Never Dies and the 25th Anniversary here.
4) 7/26 Cast Board. Pretty miffed I don’t have a photo with Kristi’s. 
5) Tickets held out by mademoiselledechagny.
6) and 7) We sat at the Stalls, which gives a terrific view of the stage. 
8) There is also a photo booth and a display of cameras. I didn’t get to check how much a photo was, but all proceeds go to charity, which is nice. They make you hold out one of those fugly plastic masks and a rose. I didn’t take a picture of that, because I saw this utterly random photo of Red Death, Phantom, Christine and Don Attilio nearby. 
TIP: If you just want a picture with a Phantom backdrop, there is a spot near Doors 5 and 6 where you can have your photo for free. The ushers would be glad to take it.

Tidbits from Howie Lim's Radio Interview with Brad and Claire

One of my favorite Phantom interviews. It helps knowing the show really. So instead of mispronouncing characters names, Howie gets down to the actual questions and and got some meaty answers in return. Here are some:

- First encounters with Phantom: Brad saw the musical with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman while Claire saw it in the 1990’s, remembering how terrified and thrilled she was of the chandelier. 

- Brad shared how kids are being named after him (!), just to show the Phantom’s impact on people. He says Phantom is not just musical theater, it’s history.

- The Phantom’s prosthetic mask requires 4 types of glue so Brad has to take 4-5 products to remove it and revitalize his skin. “So he doesn’t look like the Phantom in real life,” Claire quips.

The prosthetic mask is changed every night, Brad estimates up to 1000 dollars (??) thrown to the trash can every night. Claire describes it as gooey and slimy. The ‘slimy’ effect is brought by a lubricant called K-Y jelly which the makeup artist buys at the pharmacy every time. You can just imagine the clerk’s face.

- Claire says her heaviest dress is the Elissa skirt (Think of Me) which she describes as like a big hoop skirt. She nearly fell over at the first time.

- Brad beautifully compares a show performance to painting a sunset on a blank canvas, because the colors are different every night. You don’t know which shades will be seen.

- Brad: Doing Phantom is like a sprint, while Christine and Raoul are like doing the marathon. The Phantom is around all the time but not seen, so whenever he appears, he just has to “go, go, go”. It’s surprising how little his stage time is, as compared to Christine and Raoul who are physically present and have to keep the show going.

- 2 minutes to curtain: Claire is warming up her ballet moves while Brad mantras with “Let’s go make magic.”