Earl Carpenter, David Shannon and Kieran Brown
Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Foong Mien Shi, Genice Ooi
The world of musical theatre presents a certain image of power, prestige and perfection – but even the most seasoned of performers can be prone to a variety of hiccups and mishaps on that glamorous stage.
It’s okay. We’re all only human after all.
West End stars Earl Carpenter, Kieran Brown and David Shannon, who are in town to headline A Night at The Musical with Three Phantoms, are no exception. The trio displayed [surprisingly] boisterous behaviour during their interview with Toggle yesterday, where we got to find out a little more about their upcoming shows tonight (May 12) and tomorrow, as well as embarrassing tales from performances past (more on that in a bit).
“Three Phantoms is a songs-from-the-shows extravaganza featuring all the musicals we have been in at some point of our career,” shared Earl, who recently played Inspector Javert in last year’s local staging of Les Misérables. He added that it’s also “about giving audiences an insight into us as performers rather than the characters we are renowned for”.
Concertgoers can look forward to stunning live renditions of beloved tracks not just from The Phantom of the Opera, but also from other classic favourites like Wicked, Cats, Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables. Joining them are Alistair Barron, Olivia Brereton, Marisa McIntyre, Lisa-Anne Wood, as well as local pianist Joel Nah.
When asked how different it is gearing up for a show in a hot country like Singapore compared to cooler climates, Earl said that something they have to get used to is the air-conditioning, which isn’t as ubiquitous in London. However, the biggest “victims” of our island’s weather are the women.
“The biggest problem is for the girls when it comes to their hair, because the humidity tends to make their hair a little bit big,” said Kieran with a sympathetic expression, before cheekily adding, “Which honestly makes us laugh.”
Speaking of laughter, read on to find out what we learned from the Three Phantoms during a highly amusing game of “Never Have I Ever”, during which we got them to reveal some of the most embarrassing and memorable things that have happened to them on stage:
Never have I ever: Fallen down or knocked into someone/something on stage
Earl: I fell out of the boat in Phantom of the Opera. I didn’t mean to.
Kieran: I ran on stage for the encore for Les Misérables once, slipped on Fantine’s train and landed flat on my back in front of the entire Saturday night audience.
David: I fell over and dislocated my hip during Martin Guerre. That was really sore!
Never have I ever: Been heckled by the audience on stage
David: Most of Macau, actually, when we did Three Phantoms there.
Earl: In Three Phantoms, we do get heckled and we encourage it, because it’s about being instinctive and being connected with the audience.
David: Sometimes they want too many songs for the encore.
Earl: They react to certain things we say, but it’s great to have that sort of audience participation.
Never have I ever: Been distracted by an audience member
Earl: Someone in the front row turned up late while I was singing ‘Stars’ from Les Misérables…and I forgot my words.
Kieran: Mobile phones. It’s really awful because you can see someone’s face being lit up from the stage. They think they can hide it but we see it. Although for Three Phantoms, we’re encouraging people to take photos and selfies and hashtag! (Ed’s note: if you’re wondering, it’s #ThreePhantoms)
Never have I ever: Forgotten my lines and made something completely up
David: I did it in Miss Saigon. I was playing Chris the G.I. and halfway through the second verse, I completely forgot my lyrics, so I started making up my own version of ‘Why God Why?’ about a pretty girl lying in a bed and how lovely she was, and I think I described the room. Nobody noticed, not even the musical director!
Never have I ever: Been able to control my laughter on stage
Earl: I was doing Les Misérables with Ramin Karimloo in Toronto, and something absolutely tickled us during the confrontation scene, and we were like two little naughty schoolboys laughing. When we came off stage, the entire company was there going (shows unimpressed look).
Kieran: I was Prince Charming in Cinderella, and right before I went on stage, my Cinderella stuck gummy bears in her nose, teeth and ears, and she pulled this funny face. When she came on stage, all I could remember was that face and I just couldn’t stop laughing! I had to turn my back to the audience for about a minute before I could continue.
Never have I ever: Had to go to the bathroom really badly in the middle of a show
Earl: (raises “I Have” sign) But I can’t repeat what happened on [video].
David: I remember seeing Tommy in Germany, and the guy playing Tommy was in all white and… [all of them groan] That’s as much as you need to know! (laughs)
Never have I ever: Discovered a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of a show
Kieran: I’ve had some trousers split during Phantom of the Opera. I was picking Christina off the boat and I could just feel a rip. And another time when I was taking off a cloak, something got caught and my arm got stuck behind my head for a minute, so I had to pretend it was all part of the act. That was quite embarrassing.
Never have I ever: Discovered a female co-star’s wardrobe malfunction in the middle of a show
Earl: It was on the 25th anniversary tour of Phantom of the Opera. Christine got her dress caught on something and she freed herself by ripping the [skirt] off, so she was just standing there in her little red pants. I went, there’s no way I’m doing this, so I grabbed her and we walked off stage so she could get changed.
Kieran: I was playing Monsieur Reyer in Phantom of the Opera, and during the big opera gala scene, someone came in to put a big skirt around Christine, but it wasn’t attached properly and her dress fell down! I tried to help her but I didn’t know how to fasten it, so I had to wait for someone to come back on stage to fix it.
Catch A Night at The Musical with Three Phantoms tonight (May 12) and tomorrow (May 13) at 7.30pm at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp. Tickets, priced at $158, $118, $98, $88 and $68 (excludes booking fees) are now available on SISTIC.