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Renowned performer on tap for Valentine’s show in Anthem
Marc Buckhout ~ Managing Editor ~ 2/10/2010

The Phantom of the Opera isn’t the typical love story.
Nor is Franc D'Ambrosio, the longest running Phantom, a typical performer.
On Saturday D’Ambrosio, who’s performing resume includes roles in the Godfather III, an Emmy Award Nominated television show, a four-time Tony nominated Broadway show, two Grammy considerations and a National Theater Award nomination will put his skills on display for those from around the North Valley.
In a solo performance entitled, “Let the Phantom Be Your Valentine” the tenor will perform in Anthem at a 7 p.m. show at Fellowship Church.
The show incorporates snippets of numbers from the Phantom of the Opera, but also will feature music from, Franc D’Ambrosio’s Broadway Songs of the Great White Way.
Playing the Phantom for so long D’Ambrosio said he grew to sympathize with the character.
“Well, you had to put the part of being a murderer aside, but he’s childlike without being childish,” the New York resident said. “He’s pure passion. He loves so completely. We all can relate to having loved and lost and we all wonder whether someone will love us back if we take down our guard, our mask, if they’ll accept us for who we really are.”
After playing the Phantom, D’Ambrosio performed as Tony in the pre-Broadway tour of Copacabana.
It was during that time that Barry Manilow, who chose D’Ambrosio for the role, offered him some advice.
“Barry’s a master from having been an actor and a night club singer of singing to the audience,” he said. “We call it breaking the fourth wall. It doesn’t sound like much, but there’s a big difference between singing at the audience and singing to the audience. He taught me how to sing to them so you’re going on the journey with the audience.”
For the last six plus years he has performed the Franc D’Ambrosio’s Broadway Songs of the Great White Way, giving him an opportunity to be a one-man act.
“Whether it’s a couple thousand seat venue or a couple hundred I’m enjoying it,” he said. “I’m doing 150 concerts a year, working about nine months out of the year and I’ve never lost the passion to communicate with the audience. It’s like having something really exciting you want to share. That’s how I feel before shows. I’m more comfortable on stage in front of thousands of people than I am in my own living room.”
In seeing his solo performances people that know him only from his role as the Phantom are surprised.
“I had done a lot of musical comedy previous to Phantom,” he said. “My personality is not the dark bruiting guy, so I’m enjoying getting to show my full personality to the audience. I’m out there being me.”
The curtain time is at 7 p.m., with the lobby opening at 6 p.m. for Valentine’s desserts prepared by Anthem-based Phantom Caterers and coffee that are included in the ticket price. Desserts include Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Godiva Chocolate Icing, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Panna Cotta with Fresh Raspberries and Passion Fruit Coulis, Chocolate-Covered Strawberries, Pavlova, Fresh Berries with Zabaglione, and no-sugar cheesecake.
“Franc D'Ambrosio is a first rate performer, exceptional tenor and superb artist with an endless capacity to connect with his audience and give them an exhilarating evening,” said Mary Sue Hyatt, event chair and ACNV board member. “We are thrilled to have him at our event.”
Fellowship Church in Anthem is located at 39905 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway. Tickets for the event are $75. For information on the Arts Council of the North Valley or for tickets call 623-516-2268 or www.acnv.org.