'Phantom' invades North Augusta High

  • Thursday, November 14, 2013

Staff Photo by Scott Rodgers Ciarán Sheehan performs an impromptu song with junior Katie Foss and senior Collin Loring at North Augusta High School on Friday afternoon.

Ciarán Sheehan was born in Dublin, Ireland. He made his Broadway debut in “Les Miserables,” and was later cast as Raoul in “The Phantom of the Opera.” He moved on to the role of the Phantom and sang more than 1,000 performances over two and a half years on Broadway and in Toronto.

Sheehan, along with violinist Heather Martin Bixler, guitarist Gabriel Donohue, Sarah Pfisterer, who played Christine Daaé in “The Phantom of the Opera,” and pianist Sue Anderson visited North Augusta High School on Friday afternoon. Sheehan noted that Anderson was one of the first women to conduct a Broadway show, and her husband was the original Andre in “The Phantom of the Opera,” and later played the Phantom. Pfisterer is also married to a former Phantom as well. It was part of an outreach project from the Aiken Performing Arts Group.

“This school was actually chosen for us,” Sheehan said. “We performed over in Aiken last night and will also be there (last Friday evening). This is part of the outreach program to the schools in the area.”

Sheehan and his group title themselves as “Galway to Broadway” and took questions from students for an hour. However, most students wanted them to perform songs from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Lion King” and “Les Miserables.”

“It's really lovely to see the kids enthused, particularly about music theater,” Sheehan said. “I've always found that to be a lovely, great surprise. When I was their age, I had no interest in it. In fact, all I was interested in was Van Halen. I had no time for this stuff. The kids were fun, and it was really fun. It was great to see. My younger son wants to be an actor and my daughter wants to be a Broadway dancer. It's nice to see the enthusiasm for the art.”

During one lighthearted moment, Sheehan and Pfisterer claimed not to know the lyrics to a song from “The Lion King.” Two students, Katie Foss, a junior, and Collin Lorgin, a senior, claimed to pull the lyrics up on their phone and were invited on stage.

Donohue will not accompany Sheehan on the next leg of their tour, which will head to New Jersey and settle in the New York area until Christmas.

For more information on Sheehan visit his website at ciaransheehan.com.

Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.

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