Kristen Hertzenberg
Kristen is thrilled to be playing Christine in Phantom: The Las Vegas
Spectacular.

Originally from the Houston area, Kristen earned her Bachelor’s
degree in Voice from the University of Texas at Austin and studied at
the Austrian-American Mozart Academy in Salzburg, Austria. From
Austin, she moved to Boston where she earned her Master’s in Opera
Performance at the Longy School of Music and where she got
engaged to her wonderful husband, Dana. While in Boston, she sang
with several orchestras and also won first place in the National Opera
Association competition.

After completing her degrees, she was cast as Sophie in Terrence
McNally’s Master Class at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton, FL.
Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York, began auditioning for
musical theatre productions, and was cast as the Sheila understudy on
a European tour of Hair. She ultimately moved up into the role itself.
The show opened in Paris and over the course of about two years,
went onto play in Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Salzburg,
Vienna, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Cologne, Dresden, and Leipzig among
many other cities.

Upon returning from her adventures in Europe, she moved to Las
Vegas when she was cast as a “Christine” understudy in the original
cast of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular. Kristen feels very
grateful to be playing the role of “Christine.” She and her husband
have also launched a website to showcase the wonderful talent and
philanthropic outreach that's happening in the Las Vegas musical
theatre scene... www.broadwayvegas.blogspot.com.

Thank you dear Kristen for your friendship and this wonderful
interview.

Sandra - What has it meant for your artistic career being part of the
Phantom of the Opera in Webber's musical?

Kristen - It's been an honor for me. Phantom was the first musical I
saw on Broadway when I was 14 and I knew at that moment that I
wanted to be on stage, as well. So, for me, to play Christine means
coming full circle in a way and that's a very satisfying and joyous
feeling. Artistically, the role has really challenged me and helped me
grow as an actress, and the music... the music is what I was born to
sing! It's not every day that a role comes along that just fits perfectly
with the instrument you were given. I love it!

Sandra - What are some of the aspects you have brought into your
interpretation of Christine?

Kristen - I'm very drawn to Christine's compassion and I love it that
she can see past the Phantom's exterior and understand that his
actions come from a pain inside of him. So I enjoy those moments of
tenderness that she has with him, and I think of all the people in the
world who might be more loving if someone just took the time to
really see them.

Sandra - What scene/song of the Phantom musical is your favourite
and why.

Kristen - My favorite is definitely the final lair. There are so many
emotions flying, but yet such a need to stay strong. And really to
solve the puzzle. Christine is trying everything she can think of to
remedy the situation and then finally, there's this beautiful moment
of clarity. He needs to be loved. He has never been loved.

Sandra - How did you prepare for Christine role?

Kristen - The first thing I did was to read the novel. That gave me
wonderful insights into all of the characters in the musical. And I
created a journal... I wrote, in the voice of Christine, a diary of the
events in the show and how I felt about them all. I also took ballet
classes with the ballerinas in the show while we were in rehearsals in
the beginning. I was an understudy then, but Denny, the associate
choreographer, invited all of the Christines and understudies to join
them in the class. I loved it! I also had to work to get my "classical"
voice lined up again. I had just come from doing a long tour of the
musical Hair and so I'd been belting out rock music and not doing a
lot of work on my upper register.

Sandra - What do you think about Christine role and her relationship
with the Phantom and Raoul?

Kristen - I love how innocent and pure the love is between Raoul and
Christine. He represents happier times for her and so naturally, she
feels safe with him. But the Phantom is pulling her towards a more
adult place... one where she's empowered by her own voice, tasting
desire and passion for the first time, and taking risks. And she learns
that these feelings can be blinding. It's a fantastic journey of self-
discovery!

Sandra - What is it, in your opinion, that makes the show so
appealing?

Kristen - I think that Andrew Lloyd Webber has written a beautiful
and timeless score. The music is everywhere and it's undeniably
memorable. I also think that people can relate to the story of a person
torn between two worlds. And to the story of the Phantom. There are
lots of Phantoms walking around... we've all known them... people
who feel so much hurt that they completely lose their grip on what's
right and what's wrong.

Sandra - In the Phantom musical, what do you think is the most
important scene and which one represents a bigger vocal difficulty?

Kristen - I think the final lair is the most important because it's the
culmination of everything that's happened beforehand. The moment
of truth. But for me the most vocally challenging is "Think of Me."
It's the first big sing of the show so even if I'm very warmed up, I
may not be quite in the swing of things yet. And I also have to really
control my breath because there's much more movement in this song
than the others. Plus we're in pointed shoes, which is a bit awkward
if you haven't spent your life getting used to it! :)  Multi-tasking!

Sandra - What role would you like to play one day?

Kristen - A few... Clara in The Light in the Piazza, Sally Bowles in
Cabaret, and I'd love to originate a role one day and be a part of that
creative process.

Sandra - Tell us about your future projects.

Kristen - I'm very happy here in Las Vegas. I love working with the
composers here on their new projects and have been doing some
readings of new musicals lately in my spare time. My newest project
is Broadway Vegas (broadwayvegas.blogspot.com), the website my
husband and I just launched. There is such a giving spirit in the Las
Vegas theatre community and so we wanted to showcase that along
with all of the other events that are happening here. We're very proud
of the community and of the site and are having a great time with it.

Sandra - Dedicate some words to your fans.

Kristen - Phantom Phans are the best! Thanks so much to all of you...
you're the reason that Phantom is the longest-running show on
Broadway AND that it continues to shine around the world. I wish
you all love and happiness!


Interview Copyright by Ladyghost.