Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Behind the Phantom's Mask: Meet Ben Lewis

Desperate times call for desperate measures. During previews for Love Never Dies, line changes came so fast and furious that Ben Lewis, playing the Phantom, jotted them down on the handiest prop. Lucy Graham went backstage to peak behind the mask.
Backstage at the Regent Theatre is a rabbit warren. Costumes line the walls: wigs, feathers, tulle, and an array of moustaches hang on the wall. Ben Lewis strides confidently ahead: blundstone boots, black beanie, and coffee to go. He oozes confidence, but not the gung-ho variety. It reads,this is who I am, take it or not. Two costume attendants sit on the floor, mending, and smile as we pass. Three hours out from curtain, and backstage is effervescent. Voluptuous singing rolls along passageways, and laughter trickles through change room doors.
Landing the role of Phantom in Love Never Dies at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre means English-born Ben Lewis, 31, has “never been pushed to this extent before”. While he doesn’t describe himself as superstitious, Lewis admits a preference for fairly structured ways.

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