Six Shepparton residents are making their mark on Echuca-Moama Theatre Company’s biggest production yet.
The Phantom of the Opera opens in less than three weeks and the cast of 47 are busy with final rehearsals.
Among them are local thespians Leigh Hindle, Sean O’Brien, Dillon Shelley and Juliana de Quilettes.
Mr Hindle beat numerous other hopefuls to nab the starring role of the Phantom, Mr O’Brien is perfectly cast as the over-the-top opera singer Ubaldo Piangi, while Mr Shelley stars as former opera owner Lefevre and Ms de Quilettes is part of the ensemble.
Will Kendrew and Aaron David Palmer also form part of the crew; Mr Kendrew as musical director and Mr Palmer as program and ad designer.
For Mr Hindle, being cast as the Phantom has been a dream role.
‘‘Landing this role really means the world to me, it has been a dream from the moment I saw the show,’’ he said.
The father of two, who works at Shepparton coffee roaster Evoke Coffee, said he had met some amazing people through EMTC and hoped the audience would appreciate the passion, sweat and tears that had gone into the show.
‘‘This show will be an unstoppable force that I know the audiences will love,’’ he said.
Fellow Kialla resident and deputy principal and drama teacher at St Mary’s College in Seymour, Mr O’Brien has been involved in musical theatre for most of his life, but more consistently in the past 12 years.
‘‘I have loved how welcoming both the cast and crew at EMTC have been,’’ he said.
‘‘We have fun together but everyone is working hard to ensure an amazing experience will be enjoyed by the audience.’’
Musical theatre is more of a new experience for 24-year-old fitness coach Mr Shelley.
‘‘I have always been a sports-oriented guy, but I’ve always had a passion for great music, thanks to my parents, and when I heard that a local theatre company was doing Phantom I knew it was the perfect time to throw myself into the deep end and do something radically different,’’ he said.
‘‘Getting out of my comfort zone has been a truly rewarding experience and it’s thanks to all the great people at EMTC.’’
And it probably helped that his girlfriend Juliana is also part of the show.
Ms de Quilettes has returned to Shepparton after completing her Bachelor of Performing Arts at Deakin University in Burwood.
‘‘At first, it was the show that brought me across, but it was the people that made me stay,’’ she said.
‘‘It never ceases to amaze me, the talent we have in this area.
‘‘Everyone has just been so welcoming and uplifting to one another. It’s so great to see community theatre companies across this region rising to the challenge and succeeding to put on these big-name shows.’’
The Phantom of the Opera will take to the stage at Echuca’s Paramount theatre from May 25 to June 9.
More than 1100 tickets have been sold, so co-director John Wright is urging people to get in quick to avoid disappointment.
‘‘It will be an experience they’ll never get in another musical,’’ he said.
Tickets are available at the Paramount in Echuca by phoning 54823399.