Kapiti starlet Toni Gibson is set to play her dream role in The Phantom of the Opera this month.
Starring as the Phantom's beautiful protege Christine Daae, the role is not only Gibson's biggest, but also the New Plymouth Operatic Society's most expensive production yet, costing $600,000.
Directed by Warren Bates, the show opens at the TSB Theatre tonight, bringing to life Andrew Lloyd Webber's tragic love story.
The shadowy character of The Phantom will be played by Chris Crowe and Christine's love interest Raoul by Bevan Williams.
Gibson, 22, said landing her role was a dream come true. ''I knew it was my time and I was so thankful to have been given the opportunity.''From learning scripts and choreography, to adding new notes to her vocal range, she believes she has fine-tuned her talents and learnt valuable lessons to support her promising career.
With no previous acting experience, Gibson began the production working privately with Bates to develop her character Christine.
''It is a great feeling to push out of your comfort zone. There have also been many personal challenges I have faced and overcome throughout my journey,'' she said.Her highlight had been working alongside the experienced team. Director Bates ensured everyone had been pushed to their individual excellence, she said.
''He is very patient and doesn't settle for anything less than your best, which is all I could hope for.''
After working individually with Bates, Gibson spent the rest of her time working alongside Crowe and Williams, whom she describes as being perfectly cast for their roles.Gibson said the audience will relate to the story, which is filled with emotions, from fear, confusion, temptation to passion, happiness and love.
''That's what makes The Phantom of the Opera so beautiful to experience.
''Gibson has been singing since the age of 7 and produced her first recording at the age of 12.She has won a number of singing competitions and gained an increasing amount of radio air time, TV interviews and live performances.
Her debut album Echo in my Soul was released in May last year. She has signed with Australian record label Ambitious Entertainment and after The Phantom will head to Australia for the Australian release of her album, and to record new tracks.
- Kapiti Observer
Who are you most excited to see at Womad?