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By Ted Gambordella A Distinctive Style recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Martin Gleason, the star of Phantom of the Opera, when it was showing at Music Hall at Fair Park Dallas; he is an articulate, charming and talented performer who brings vigor, and excitement with every performance. He gave us a good insight into who he is and then graciously answered some of our questions. The Dallas press reviews showed him to be a flawless, passionate singer with a voice as close to perfection as is possible. He plays the role his way and characterizes the Phantom to be a more vulnerable malefactor than we have come to expect and it works. His portrayal of an emotionally fragile character gives the role its own signature. Gleason, a native of New Jersey is one of those fortunate and indeed brave people who suddenly decided he wasn’t prepared to live the utterly boring corporate life so he packed his bags for New York to pursue his dream. He had been singing all his life but oddly only took his first lesson at 26 years of age. He had always harbored dreams of being a star after he realized his ambition to be a baseball player had all but evaporated. In 1977 while enjoying one (or three) too many drinks one night in a piano bar singing, mostly to himself, he was discovered by an agent. Not long afterwards he was touring the country in a van with the cast of the children’s production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The tour was 13 weeks of motels, rough sleeping and cafeteria audiences but it gave him a good grounding into the industry. He was performing in one of the Mecca’s of the industry, New York and was ‘on his way.’ ADS: How long have you been with Phantom? Gleason: I have been with Phantom since 2001, for nine years continuously but with different companies. This tour has been running for three and a half years. I did the Broadway production as Raoul for a year, and then they asked me to open the Las Vegas Company which I did for a year and a half, then back to Broadway for two years. Then about a year ago they asked me to become the full-time Phantom, which I’ve been doing, and it’s been an absolute blessing! ADS: Is it easy to stay in character after all these performances? Gleason: Laughs, well I wouldn’t have a job I guess, if it wasn’t, but that’s the challenge, after doing it so long. Having done the show with so many different Christine’s, with so many different companies, it really does stay fresh. The reaction from the people is so genuine and so sincere, that that keeps you going as well. ADS: Did you know much about the Phantom roll before you took it? Gleason: Not really, I’d seen it a couple times. Of all the big Cameron Mackintosh shows of the Phantom, Les Misérables, and Miss Saigon, Phantom is the one show I never thought I would do. I wanted to play Chris in Miss Saigon so bad, and Les Mis, I thought someday I’d have to do Les Mis, but here I am in Phantom. I just knew it was a very difficult thing and that’s why I never thought I’d be part of it, but here I am. ADS: You’ve had such great reviews about your talent as an actor and a singer. Did you ever have voice lessons? Gleason: I never took a voice lesson until I was 28 years old. I’ve been singing in church choir from the time I was about 6 years old. And I never studied it, I never took acting classes, I just wanted to be a baseball player. I played baseball in high school, I was pretty terrible but I was good enough to make the team. Then I changed my cleats into running shoes to go do play practice at night. I would do the musicals there. I was only doing musicals because it was fun and I could sign a little but it was never a goal of mine until I got into my late 20’s when I decided I had to do something with my life.
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