Phantom comes to Skaneateles – Kringer says 50th production is epic!

When Mickey Kringer uses the word “epic” to describe an upcoming show at Skaneateles High School, take notice.

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This is a man who has produced the likes of Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, and Oliver.  He has helped talented high school students bring the house down with The Mystery of Edwin Drood and West Side Story.  And out of all of those shows over the past 24 years at Skaneateles High School, he says this one is “the biggest and most challenging show we’ve ever done.”

More than 100 students and another additional 50 people are working full tilt to bring Phantom of the Opera to Skaneateles High School March 1-4. “It’s epic.  Everything about it,” he said.  “We have an excellent cast of over 50 kids, plus 20 crew members and 35 in the pit orchestra.  That’s more than 100 students involved.”  In addition, “a great group of parents” is helping with everything from set to costumes. Staff and alumni are helping too. “It is an opera.  The pieces are very challenging.  It is challenging for adults,” he said.  “This is a student version but very little has been altered.”

The technical aspects are challenging, too.  The high school’s Technology Club has taken on the challenge of creating the robotics to make a boat float across stage below the Paris Opera House, he said.  The effort is led by engineering student Dylan Baker, a senior who is also in the cast, and technology teacher Matthew Slauson.

Stage Manager Julianna Augustine, a junior, has worked on stage crew since seventh grade and confirms that “for stage crew, it is the biggest show,” by sheer size and by challenge.  The show, she said, “is iconic.  It’s so significant.  It is surreal.”

Junior Allie Hagen said it is an honor “to be in this show and to sing the parts everyone listened to growing up.”  She said that everyone’s level of commitment is “huge” and matches the level of the challenge. Hagen plays Christine Daae, the beautiful young soprano with whom Phantom falls in love.

“The greatest part is when we hear the orchestra practicing,” said Hagen.  “They are amazing.  They are working like crazy.  It is a phantastic orchestra … and that is phantastic with a PH,” she said.

Orchestra Director Karen Veverka agreed the show is epic. “I have never had students work so hard in the pit, or be so challenged.  We will have some professionals in the pit to help them, but it is a great experience for students and it is opening their eyes to what an opera truly is,” she said.  “It is also extremely challenging for the conductor. The most musically complex score I’ve ever conducted is Westside Story – and this score makes Westside Story look like a piece of cake! This is without a doubt the most challenging show we’ve ever done for the orchestra as well.”

Veverka said that because Phantom is basically an opera, the music is more “orchestral,” in the senses that it is written for a large orchestra.  “I think Andrew Lloyd Weber had the London Symphony in mind.”

Senior Daniel Kringer, who plays Phantom, explained that the musical difficulty ranges from piece to piece, with some of the more difficult songs being “dissident … creepy.”  He feels it has all gone “really well … and we got used to it rather quickly.”  The sheer number of words in each song has been another challenge, he said.

Hagen said the show demands 150 different costumes, as each cast member changes at least three times.  A crew led by parent Pam Spear is altering/fitting all of the rental costumes and designing and sewing the rest.

Everyone involved seems to be aware of the fact that the show is epic, and that this is Mickey Kringer’s 50th Skaneateles High School production.  Did he choose Phantom because it is the 50th show?  “No,” he said.  “All of the planets had to align.”  It had to be the right cast, he said. “You have to know what type of show is best for the cast … what type of show they are most capable of doing and reaching their full potential.”

It isn’t about one group being more talented … it is about where the talents lie. Some years, the given talent might point to a comedy.  In the case of Phantom, “every one of these leads needs to be a solo singer.  And every lead is just that … a very talented singer.”

As the stars aligned, this is also Daniel Kringer’s senior year.  While Daniel plays Phantom, his brother Jeffrey, Kringer’s middle son, plays the part of RAOUL, VICOMTE DE CHAGNY.

Kringer has inspired, motivated and directed students in productions for 24 years (usually doing two a year and sometimes three), and he has taken great pride in all of the talented young people.  It’s likely that this one – the 50th show – holds “epic” proportions in his own heart, because of how the planets aligned with his own sons.

When asked about how it feels to have his sons in the cast, he read from what he wrote for the program, saying he is tremendously proud of the whole cast.  In addition, he wrote, “words can’t express my pride in my gifted sons.”

Also “epic,” he said, is this very positive and supportive group of students working on this show.  “Their commitment is so high,” he said.  And, in addition, they diligently support other schools by going to their productions and placing ads in their programs.  They are also helping coach Skaneateles Middle School students, who are hard at work on their own musical production, “Honk” which is March 31.


The main performances will be March 1st, 2nd, 3rd at 7:30 PM and March 4th at 2:00 PM.
There will be a Senior Citizens performance on February 29th at 3:00 PM.
All performances will take place in the High School Auditorium.
Tickets are available for purchase from cast and crew members, or by calling 291-2296.  Tickets will also be available at the door.  Adult tickets: $10/ Students & Senior Citizens: $8.  Seats are reserved.

THE PHANTOM, Daniel Kringer ; CHRISTINE DAAÉ, Allie Hagen;  RAOUL, VICOMTE DE CHAGNY, Jeffrey Kringer;  CARLOTTA GIUDICELLI, Gabriella Whiting;  UBALDO PIANGE , Ryan Terhune;   MONSIEUR FIRMIN, Nicholas Kochan;  MONSIEUR ANDRÉ , Michael Ranalli;  MADAM GIRY , Natalie Krause;  MEG GIRY, Phoebe Glowacki;  MONSIEUR REYER, Thomas Boxho.