Pictured above: Music alum Constantine Pappas (photo by Shirin Tenati)

~ By Lisa Maria Boyles, communications specialist for the College of Arts and Humanities

Earlier this summer, Donald Munro reported that Fresno State music alum Constantine Pappas landed a huge role playing the understudy to the character of Raoul in the national tour of “The Phantom of the Opera.”

“That’s a big deal, Munro wrote. “This is the same big first-tier production that toured through Fresno in 2016, complete with a redesigned massive set and impressively sized orchestra.”

Since joining the cast for rehearsals on May 3 in El Paso, Pappas has done 11 performances as Raoul. We caught up with him recently and asked him a few questions, including what it’s like to be on call as an understudy for such a major role.

“It depends on the situation,” said Pappas, a 2014 music vocal performance graduate from Clovis. “When the current Raoul goes on vacation or leaves for a prior engagement, they’ll schedule some understudy performances. There are also more spontaneous instances such as being sick where I’ll go on at a moment’s notice, whether I find out hours in advance or five minutes before a show. Thankfully, no one’s gotten sick.”

His first turn in the lead role was June 8 in Las Vegas, and his famiy “brought a whole busload of friends and family from Fresno.”

“It was a wonderful day, to be greeted with so much love and support after the show was an incredible feeling. It’s been an amazing process and no two performances are alike.”

Pappas said he thinks the tour, currently scheduled through August 2018, will continue as long as there as demand is there. This is the same company and production that played in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2015, before its stop in Fresno in October 2016 as part of that year’s Broadway in Fresno lineup.

“I’m blessed to say that I am doing what I love and making a living wage doing it. I couldn’t ask for anything more. For anyone who is passionate about the arts, all I want to say is to continue to support and promote the arts! The world needs art and music and it’s not possible without people continually supporting it!”