Having performed in over 2,000 performances of the The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and Asia, theater maestro Brad Little has won over critics and audiences with his wonderful performance. Speaking to us from New York, Little gave us an insight into his role.
Is there any specific method you employ when playing the Phantom?
I don’t play him in any specific way. I let the character develop as the evening goes by. The Phantom can be angry, disgusting and sympathetic. I know my lines, but the actual interpretation is different every night.
What research did you do for the part?
A lot of the research is imagination, because the Phantom is a fictional character. I asked myself—what is it in my life that will help me relate to the character? When did I feel isolated? For me, it was during junior high—when I didn’t like what I was reading. That part of my life really helped me to understand how it feels when the world doesn’t understand you.
Are there any psychological effects of donning the Phantom’s mask?
Putting on the mask is the last thing I do before I go on stage. That’s when the magic of theater starts. When I feel the role is taking over—I’m no longer Brad—I’m taking the audience into a sensory realm. That’s when I turn to my makeup artist and say “It’s time to make magic.”
You’ve played the role of Raoul before. Has that aided or impeded your understanding of the Phantom in any way?
It’s definitely helped me. I’ve learnt from some of the best while playing Raoul, so I know exactly what it’s like to be him. The thing is—they are two different characters, but they love the same person.
Are you anyone like the Phantom in real life?
I’m like the Phantom in the sense that I’m a real homebody. I don’t think the fans know that! I love staying at home. I also have great passion for music, arts, theater—that’s another thing we have in common.