Phantom delivers haunting performance in ULM production


Tears fell from the audience’s eyes as the agonizing emotion from Blake Oden, the Phantom in ULM’s “Phantom of the Opera,” was felt all across the room.
But to one audience member this was no surprise. Mindy Leblanc, Oden’s nanny and lifelong supporter, said that Oden’s performance in the “Phantom of the Opera” was “a tradition of excellence.”
According to Mindy Leblanc and her husband, Tim Leblanc, Oden showed the raw emotions of the Phantom in an excellent way.
Oden said that the main reason he went after the part of Phantom was because of the emotions played.
“The music in the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ is so powerful,” Oden said.
Despite seeing this show in various other places, Tim Leblanc said that this was one of the best shows he had ever seen because of such talented people like Oden.
“We’ve seen the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in New York, New Orleans and London. But at ULM, we were completely enraptured. We laughed, we cried and we enjoyed every note,” Mindy Leblanc said.
And so did everyone else at ULM’s “Phantom of the Opera” production last week.
Friday night every seat in Brown Theater was completely filled in anticipation for the performance.
With the audience captured in every moment of Oden’s performance, Oden accomplished his true goal- to be the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera.”
“Ever since I saw the production [Phantom of the Opera] in middle school, I knew I wanted to be in it at least once. When I heard about the opportunity of them doing it here I knew I had to do it. It’s been a dream come true really,” Oden said.
While Oden was a feature star in the “Phantom of the Opera,” Leah Huber, the actress who played Christine, brought the play to life through her vocals and emotion.
Oden said having Leah Huber as co-star was an inspiration to locking in on the emotions of the play.
“It’s easy to lock in on what the phantom is feeling especially when you have an amazing counter part like Leah Huber. She has such emotion and such talent. I kind of feed off of her sometimes,” Oden said.
But Oden and Huber were not the only attractions. Kushal Timilsina, a sophomore computer infromation systems major, was impressed with the entire cast.
“Each and every crew and cast member did their part with perfection. Kudos to the music department of ULM, students and producers who did an amazing job recreating the classing ‘Phantom of the Opera’,” Timilsina said.
And for many, this is the last production they will ever see at ULM like Jodie Faulk, a senior art major.
“This was my last show to see as a student, so I was very lucky it was this show. The scenes, props, characters, music and everything else was top-notch. It was a play I will never forget,” Faulk said.