Friday, September 29, 2017

‘Love Never Dies’ Brings Phantom to Baltimore

Written by  Frankie Kujawa
Katrina Kemp – Los Angelena can’t wait to hit Charm City Katrina Kemp – Los Angelena can’t wait to hit Charm City

Breathless Phantom sequel at the Hippodrome

The “Music of the Night” will waft through the streets of Baltimore as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies spellbinds audiences at the Hippodrome Theatre this month. Running from Tuesday, October 3rd to Sunday, October 8th, the sequel to Webber’s Phantom of the Opera will play its special preview engagement in Baltimore as the season opener of the 2017-2018 Hippodrome Broadway Series, prior to the official opening of its North American Tour. Baltimore OUTloud spoke to Katrina Kemp, who plays Fleck in a performance that will entrance and captivate audiences.

“I think audiences are going see something brand new that they’ve never seen or experienced before,” Kemp told me. “It’s very fast-paced and it’s very cinematic. The transitions between each scene are seamless, in the way that the first Phantom makes you feel that you’re sort of in that voyeuristic, erotic cloud. As an audience, you were forced to see the drama behind the scene and in the dressing room, but also experienced the opera itself. They did a very good job of that in Love Never Dies, but it’s almost like a fever dream with all the elements coming together so that you can’t hardly take a breath between scenes.”

For Kemp, the Los Angeles-native whose acting and professional credits include several music videos (for Rihanna), guest-starring roles on TV (“RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “American Horror Story,” “Fameless”) and twerking her way across South America with Miley Cyrus on the Bangerz international tour in 2014, her role in Love Never Dies is a dream. “[Fleck] is an aerialist extraordinaire. She is one part of the three-headed dragon that is nicknamed ‘The Trio’ and I’m the only girl in the trio. The boys are Gangle and Squelch. Fleck is a little bit of a scallywag. She’s definitely born and raised by the circus and lives for the drama backstage. We’re a little bit of conniving instigators, but at the same time we live for the show. Fleck, especially, has an ear out for everything going on with our main cast divas and our main Phantom. She’s always ‘in the know.’ Wherever the party is at – she would definitely be there.”

Kemp described what it was like to be part of a performance such as this. “It feels like so many words come to mind, but definitely ‘breathtaking.’ It’s an absolute whirlwind! I went from someone whose mother used to play the Phantom of the Opera on cassette and was obsessed with it as a teenager. I was a huge fan of the [2004] film. I ended up going into the circus, and that sort of took me to where I am today, in a roundabout way with this character. I went from the actual circus, doing a lot of scare acting – playing Chuckie at Universal Studios. That took me to filming B-horror movie characters and then took me into TV and film. And, I figured I’d sent in audition tape for Love Never Dies. I had never been in a musical before, so I filmed it with mini-pianos and candelabras. I did my makeup like I did in the circus. I am so grateful that Andrew Lloyd Webber has seen my video and his production worked team has worked so hard for me to get prepared for this role. I couldn’t ask for anything else!”

Having never been to Baltimore before, Kemp is excited to perform here as one of her best friends is a huge John Waters fan. “After having [my friend] experience Baltimore, it made me want to really come and visit. So, when I found out Baltimore was one of my first stops on the tour, I was very excited. Baltimore is very much like New Orleans and New York City. You feel that because these are very ‘old school’ American towns you can really experience something very American as opposed to Los Angeles that’s constantly changing. I’m very excited to get to the city and meet the people!”

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