Phantom of the Country Opera
A side-splitting, Country-Western adaptation of the infamous masked opera ghost and his muse.
Show Essentials
10
Roles
+ Ensemble
PG
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

At the Italian opera house, a company is in mid-performance; Gabriella, Antonio and Chrissy are all onstage. Gabriella tries to upstage Chrissy, but Chrissy fights back ("Opening Act 1"). The upstaging continues until Gabriella carries out her dramatic death moment. Backstage, she complains to her husband, Carlo, about "the American" and demands that Chrissy be fired. Carlo points out that Chrissy is still onstage; Gabriella offers to take her place, now that Gabriella's character is dead. Chrissy appears, and Carlo tells her that the contracts for the next season are ready. She hesitates. Antonio, her boyfriend, insists that she is just upset about her mother's recent death. Because of her current contract, Chrissy is heading back to Nashville for only two days, barely enough time to take care of her mother's affairs. Although her successful opera career is what her mother always wanted for her, it's not necessarily what Chrissy wanted ("Somebody's Calling Me Home – Opera").

It is now time for Chrissy to go back onstage, but Gabriella enters in an identical costume. The confused company of performers cannot figure out who to follow. In a panic, Carlo calls out to bring down the curtain. Suddenly, the lights change, and a chandelier appears from above. The entire stage is inexplicably transformed into... Nashville ("Did You Want to Hear a Country Tune?"). We see a country street singer and other young hopefuls, searching for their big break in the music city.

Chrissy enters as a pickpocket snatches her wallet. Skipper, a young man who is hocking newspapers, witnesses this crime and trips the pickpocket as he tries to get away. Officer Tammy Fay June Ellie Fay Crenshaw arrives and demands the wallet from the thief. Skipper introduces himself as the son of Sally Barker, Queen of Country. He asks Chrissy if she'd like to go to hear his mother sing. She gladly accepts!


Inside the Country Palace, Major Billy introduces his wife, Miss Sally. To much applause, she sings about her humble beginnings ("Hog Butcher's Daughter"). As she begins her next song, she is interrupted by the entrance of a flying pig. They decide to end the show, reminding the audience that the big Country Music Extravaganza is only two days away. Major Billy flirts with one of the backup singers, Sally gets mad, has her fired and sets an audition for tomorrow morning to replace her. Although Chrissy isn't used to singing country, she knows that her mom always wanted that for her; Skipper tries to convince her to audition, and with a little push from Aaron, the mysterious janitor, she agrees.


Meanwhile, in Sally's dressing room, Billy asks Sally if she has found a new song, yet. She admits that she has not, and he reminds her that he has invited the Hollywood honchos to see her perform. An argument ensues, but the two ultimately reconcile ("For Better, for Worse").

Chrissy cleans out her mother's locker, with Skipper and Aaron nearby. She finds sheet music to an old song that her mother used to perform. She sings a few bars for Skipper and Sally overhears, giving her an idea. Sally has Billy distract Chrissy and then steals the sheet music. Billy's distraction, however, results in him hiring Chrissy without an audition. Sally is enraged. Then, an ominous message comes over the loudspeaker as a ghostly voice demands that Sally and Billy return what they stole. They immediately dismiss it. Chrissy introduces herself to Aaron and asks about the voice over the loudspeaker, but he also dismisses it and suggests that she do the same.

At rehearsal the next day, Chrissy meets Clive the stage manager. He gives her a telegram from Antonio, who professes his love for her and says how much he misses her ("A Telegram"). Aaron notices her sadness and reveals that he knows that she is the star of La Scala. When he asks her about her mother's belongings, she mentions that she is missing some of her mother's sheet music. Aaron promises to help her find it. Eventually, several members of the company arrive and rehearsal begins ("Country Music Rehearsal"). Sally begins feeling threatened by Chrissy and after some time, lashes out. Then, there is another phantom message on the PA: the voice instructs the Hog Butcher's Daughter to return what she has stolen. The message haunts Sally, and she leaves rehearsal. The girls in the show attempt to console Chrissy, but she decides to go elsewhere and rehearse her role.

In a subterranean recording studio, Aaron is mooning over a picture of Chrissy; she enters. He offers to help her ("Voice Lesson"). They open up to each other, she revealing that she left La Scala because something was missing in her life, and he telling her about his lost love. She is having trouble with performing country music, but he tries to remind her about singing from the heart and to think about her mother ("Two Roads Meet"). Chrissy admits that she remembers her mother but not her father. Aaron insists that if she doesn't think about it, she will find her true voice ("Somebody's Calling Me Home").

Before the Extravaganza, Mort de Soliel of Hocus Focus Pictures and his assistant, Crystal Light, introduce themselves to Billy and Sally. Chrissy gets another telegram from Antonio, and Officer Crenshaw tells Billy that she is going to find the ghost. Meanwhile, Aaron hypnotizes Sally, and she realizes that she knows him, as she used to sing back-up for him when he was a big country music star; she thought he was dead. He reveals that he faked his death to get the job at the Opera and thought that she would do anything to stay on top, Aaron tells her that she must return the song that she has stolen, or her singing days are over. Still, she refuses.

Onstage, the show is finally beginning ("Extravaganza Montage"). During the event, The Hoggettes sing a song about their love woes ("Missin' Men"). Then, a male quartet enters and sings their own song ("Does Your Daddy Know You Like to Kiss Cowboys?").

Elsewhere, Aaron appears. He has brought flowers to Chrissy for her debut. Back on the stage, Skipper dedicates his song about love to Chrissy ("The Train of Adolescence"). Next up, Sally performs her own version of the stolen song ("Sally Sings!"). As it concludes, Mort and Crystal begin to leave while Chrissy realizes that Sally has stolen her song. Aaron prods her to take it back and, in triumphant fashion, Chrissy performs the original song ("If I Could Hold You"). Suddenly, the company joins in, and an infuriated Sally runs offstage to turn on the helium tanks. Just as Chrissy is ending her song and the curtain is falling, she becomes debilitated by the helium. Antonio arrives as a chandelier flies down ("Country Music Is My Home – Finale").

Act Two

We find Morty and Crystal dining at Carl's Country Carnivore Cabaret restaurant ("Opening Act 2"). Carl mentions that Sally is having a get-well vigil, and Antonio and Chrissy enter and get a table for two. Antonio says that he has been enjoying Nashville, but it is time for them to go back to La Scala. Chrissy tells him, however, that even though she hasn't had the warmest welcome at the Country Opera, it has grown on her. Meanwhile, Crystal convinces Morty that he should sign Sally, despite the fact that she received bad press from her botched performance. Ironically, it has made her more famous than ever before. Chrissy then tells Antonio that she wants to go to Sally's vigil. He is confused, but she explains that this will be the perfect time to confront her. Despite their feelings for each other, Antonio must return to La Scala, even if Chrissy doesn't ("An Open Door").

At Sally's vigil, her fans fondly remember the dearly departed King of Country music and how Sally rose from being his back-up singer to being the Queen of Country. They pray for her to come back to them with her voice fully intact ("God Save Our Glorious Queen"). Sally majestically appears on the balcony and addresses her fans; she collapses dramatically into Billy's arms as Chrissy and Antonio enter. The fans clamor for Chrissy's autograph, and the reporters try to learn more about her. Skipper watches from afar, seeing his love slip away. Sally sees her fans slipping away and tells Billy that they must fire Chrissy, deal with Sally's "Phantom Friend" and pick up comfort food.

The next afternoon, backstage at the Country Opera House, the ensemble is arriving and rehearsal is about to begin. Aaron is mopping the floor as Chrissy enters and when he asks her about the man he saw her with the night before, she explains that he is just a friend from Italy. She is summoned to Sally's dressing room. In the dressing room, Chrissy expects to confront Sally, but Billy fires her, instead. Chrissy threatens Sally, but Sally is unfazed. Billy and Sally then receive a telegram from Mort and Crystal, asking Sally and Skipper to do a screen test. Sally is thrilled until she and Billy realize that she is still unable to sing. They decide to "pull a Singin' in the Rain" and have Chrissy sing for Sally.

In the employee's locker room, Chrissy sees Skipper, who vows to step aside for her and Antonio. Although confused, she expresses her appreciation for the gesture. Sally approaches Chrissy about the plan. She initially scoffs at the suggestion until Sally points out that if Chrissy prevents Sally from auditioning, she is also preventing Skipper. Chrissy agrees to help for Skipper's sake.

Next, Antonio enters and sings an Italian country song to Chrissy ("Spaghetti Western"). The performance leads to a proposal, but she is unable to accept. He must return to La Scala and finish the season; he leaves her alone. Aaron appears and informs Chrissy that she is making a mistake, but Chrissy refuses to listen to his advice. Finally, after much reluctance, he admits to being the Phantom. He tells her a story about his own mistakes, but she insists that they are not the same ("Ghost Town").

At the screen test, Aaron reveals the Singin' in the Rain plot by pulling up the curtain while Chrissy is singing ("Hog Butcher's Daughter – Reprise"). Billy fires Aaron, and Mort decides to reshoot the scene with Chrissy in the lead. As a consolation, Sally gets to play the grandmother. Billy puts Clive in charge of the Palace, and Clive's first act is to rehire Chrissy. Now, she must choose between the glamour of Hollywood and the music of Nashville. Aaron appears and tells her that she'll be a great star at the Country Opera. In a shocking turn of events, he then reveals that he is her father. He admits that he abandonded her mother when Chrissy was just a baby ("If I Could Hold You – Duet Reprise"). She believes that it is too late to be a part of her life. Clive enters and gives Aaron his job back.

As Sally, Billy and Skipper leave, Chrissy reveals to Skippy that she has decided to stay in Nashville. His understanding of the situation impresses Chrissy and makes her stop to reflect and contemplate ("Somebody's Calling Me Home – Reprise").

Later, Chrissy arrives at the recording studio. Although she is looking for Aaron, she finds Antonio tied up, instead. When she unties him, they find a cassette from Aaron that explains why he has left and why Antonia is tied up. On the tape, he sings a song of encouragement that ends up changing her life. We magically transition to a massive country music concert; Chrissy is singing her music in front of a throng of adoring fans. As she signs autographs, she sees Aaron. They embrace and the curtain falls ("Fly Away / If I Could Hold You").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Star Vehicle Female
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Chrissy
A former Opera star, who has left the business because she has lost her "voice," and our story's angelic protagonist. Religiously raised on country music. Sweet and pretty, but also tough and brave.
Gender: female
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Aaron
Chrissy's father and a former country music star, who once turned his back on his family and now wants to make good on his mistake. Shy, smart, honest, and overprotective.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 65
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Sally
The mean, demanding, diva and star of the Country Opera. She Major Billy's wife. Conniving, manipulative, insecure.
Gender: female
Age: 45 to 55
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Gabriella
Major Billy
The manager of the Country Opera and husband to its star, Sally. He is a thieving man who enjoys flirting with the chorus girls. In reality, he is led on a leash by his commanding wife.
Gender: male
Age: 55 to 65
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: G3
Antonio
Chrissy's Italian lover and co-star at the Opera in Milan. He sincerely loves her and is protective. Charming, goofy, passionate.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Crystal
Mort's longtime assistant. She attempts to mimic Mort in all she does but is actually much smarter. Shallow and self-important.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Clive
The no-nonsense Stage Manager. He is direct, all about business, and has a crush on Officer Crenshaw.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 45
Skipper
Sally and Major Billy's son. The polar opposite of his parents, he is hard-working and independent. The somewhat bashful and charming. "nice guy." Loves to sing and is in love with Sally.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Officer Tammy Faye June Ellie Fay Crenshaw
Security officer of the Country Opera. Loves to serve and protect. Overexcited and over serious about her job.
Gender: female
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: E4
Vocal range bottom: G3
Mort
A film producer out to make a dollar. The stereotypical Hollywood businessman, full of hot air and air kisses. Takes all his ideas and cues from his assistant, Crystal.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 45
Ensemble
Opera Ensemble; Guys & Girls Of Nashville; Fans; Reporters
Full Song List
Phantom Of The Country Opera: Overture
Phantom Of The Country Opera: Did You Want to Hear a Country Tune?
Phantom Of The Country Opera: Hog Butcher's Daughter
Phantom Of The Country Opera: If I Could Hold You
Phantom Of The Country Opera: Ghost Town
Phantom Of The Country Opera: Fly Away/If I Could Hold You (Finale)

Show History

Inspiration

Phantom of the Country Opera is a Country-Western send-up of the story from the French novel, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.

Productions

Phantom of the Country Opera opened at the Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre in Chicago in June of 1994, where it received positive reviews. It was also featured in the in the Festival of New Musicals, sponsored by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), in 1994.

Since 1995, Phantom of the Country Opera has had more than 80 productions in the United States, and has been produced internationally in Australia, Canada, England, Kuwait and Russia.

Cultural Influence

  • The title and story of Phantom of the Country Opera are a spoof reference to the very popular musical, The Phantom of the Opera, which has been running on Broadway for decades.
  • Leroux's novel, The Phantom of the Opera, has been adapted many times for stage and screen, including a notable 1925 film featuring Lon Chaney.

Trivia

  • Phantom of the Country Opera bookwriters Sean Grennan and Kathy Santen are husband and wife.
  • The show was titled Phantom of the Country Palace when it premiered at the Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre in 1994.
  • NAMT has nurtured the creation, development, production and presentation of new musicals since 1985.


Critical Reaction

"Ingenious... nothing less than a gold mine!"
– Chicago Tribune



"A clever, splashy, exuberant new musical... bubbling over with zippy wordplay.... A zany, affectionate exploitation of every showbiz cliche in the book."
– Chicago Sun-Times

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Billing

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
PHANTOM OF THE COUNTRY OPERA
 
Book by
SEAN GRENNAN and KATHY SANTEN
Music by
MICHAEL DUFF
Lyrics by
CHERYL COONS
Originally produced at Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre
Kary Walker, Executive Director
Dyanne Earley, Artistic Director
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK20
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
LOGO PACK
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
REFERENCE RECORDING
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS
DRUMSBELLS , CLICK , KIT , MARK TREE , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TYMPANI
GUITARACOUSTIC GUITAR , ELECTRIC GUITAR , STEEL GUITAR
GUITAR 2ACOUSTIC GUITAR , BANJO , ELECTRIC GUITAR
REED 1CLARINET , FLUTE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
TROMBONE
TRUMPETFLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
VIOLINMANDOLIN , VIOLIN
VIOLIN 2VIOLA , VIOLIN