We are fortunate today to talk about PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on the blog with the Wig Supervisor, Hailei Call.
How did your journey lead to your role with the Phantom tour?
After graduation and spending the summer abroad at the CCM-Spoleto Music Festival and a Fall Season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival I began touring with the National Tour of Mary Poppins as the head of the wig and makeup department. Two years and 55 cities later we said Au Revoir to Poppins and began this new adventure with The Phantom of the Opera. We have been on the road for six months now and we still have plenty of this beautiful country to see!
What’s your favorite thing about your work with Phantom?
Two suitcases, a wanderlust attitude, the open road and my dream job- how can I pick a favorite thing!? Okay, Okay, I’ll narrow it down for you- I would have to say my favorite thing is the PEOPLE. The cast, crew, management, and locals make this job exciting. You are sleeping, eating, living, and working with these people around the clock-they become family. Friendships are strong, making up for being away from family and loved ones. Holidays are rarely spent at home- which has to be the hardest thing about touring. Luckily, support systems are built and new traditions are created with every show.
The show (like life) is constantly evolving forcing you to stay present. People often ask “Does it get boring doing the same show everyday?” My answer is “ABSOLUTELY NOT”. Many people don’t realize that in every city we train Local Union members to be our crew and run the shows. This involves working with new people every stop, which never gets boring! We are not only experiencing the city but also it’s people, food, and culture. We are lucky enough to get both the recommendations of “tourist” and “local” attractions, what better way to see a city?
Any challenges that you face on the road?
Well, yes. With every job comes challenges. Fortunately, I LOVE the rush of quick thinking and problem solving. I live for the quick changes, last minute adrenaline highs, and planning. Each city brings a new space which always comes with its own set of hurdles. Figuring out how to run our show in a new building (with new crews!) takes a lot of planning AND impromptu solutions. Constantly switching up spaces, relying on your own intuition and never being afraid to ask for help is crucial. I like when things keep me on my toes :).
Anything we should look for from the show?
Of course! Check out the awesome hair styles! 😉 But really, this show is amazing (…and I am not just saying that.) The cast is remarkable and it is so technically advanced. If you are a Phantom “Phan” or a first-timer you are going to be thrilled by the honest story telling that happens every night. The music is so beautiful and the voices will not disappoint. The new redesigned set is breathtaking! I can’t spoil it by telling all of the good secrets, but believe me, they are AWESOME!
Well, you make it sound like an amazing job! So, what’s next for you?
Next for me? Greenville, South Carolina! That is the next stop on our tour. Only being six months into the tour I still have PLENTY of time to plan for what’s next. I prefer to just stay present and focus on how grateful I am to have this opportunity! After three years on the road, I still love it. I am looking forward to the cities we have coming – it’s a great line up! I’ll let you know if anything changes though! 😉
Thank you, Hailei. Enjoy being “home” for a couple more days before you’re off to the next stop!
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has four more performances at the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati. Information is available here. Read my review of this amazing show here. Also, you can follow Hailei on Instagram here.