LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV) - Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera will make its Little Rock premiere in a completely renovated Robinson Auditorium.
The Broadway production will kick-off Wednesday night with its 52-member cast and orchestra.
It's one of the productions that could not be staged here at Robinson Auditorium in the past due to the layout and the loading limitations, but the recent renovations here at Robinson Auditorium changed all of that.
Gretchen Hall, with the Little Rock's Convention and Visitors Bureau said an updated version of the record-setting Broadway musical Phantom of the Opera would not have been possible at Robinson before a $70 million dollar upgrade to the venue.
"We've had cast and crew members here moving in since the symphony ended on Sunday evening," Hall said. "They've been working around the clock to make sure that the rigging, the lighting and the sound is ready for this production."
Hall said this production is an opportunity to show off the brand new performance hall and building renovations.
"Much more height in the hall, everyone's a little bit closer to the stage, so better sight lines. The sound system is much improved," she claimed.
One major change was the location and capacity of the loading dock.
"We've moved it to the stage level now, so it makes loading and unloading much more efficient for large shows," said Hall. "I think there are 19 tractor trailer rigs that are be unloaded for this production."
And what about that massive chandelier?
"It's beautiful," Hall said. "I actually saw it uncrated earlier today as they were rigging that and hanging that in the hall. A lot of structural steel and capacity issues had to be double checked to make sure we could hold the weight of that. ."
The cast and crew will put on 16 productions while they're here in Little Rock for the next two weeks. The show recently spent two weeks in Oklahoma City where it had an estimated $11 million impact.
City leaders expect to see the same in Little Rock.
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