Tomorrow unofficially marks the beginning of October because the forecast is cold and rainy and the spooky original “Phantom of the Opera” will be playing in the PAC.
The event is sponsored by the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) and will feature a larger-than-life throwback to 1920s film with live musical accompaniment, great acoustics and a reception after the movie.
If at this point you are imagining Andrew Lloyd Weber and the obnoxious Emmy Rossum, think again. “Phantom” began as a silent film and has progressed since then to the popular Broadway version. The 1925 film is a completely different experience, and will likely transform modern views on this production.
The showing is a chance to step back in time, back when films were black-and-white, and actors were silent and the ambiance of an orchestra filled the theater. The 1925 Lon Chaney silent film will be on a huge screen, accompanied by organist Bob Mitchell and vocalist Marlena Mack.
In 1929, Universal Studios released a revised version including several arias to be sung with orchestra accompaniment. Mack, 15, a student at Atascadero High, will be singing a few of these solos during the film with Mitchell’s instrumentation.
The Forbes Pipe Organ, donated by Bert and Candace Forbes, is an exciting new addition to the PAC and will be on its maiden voyage Friday as an accompaniment to the film.
“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to be the first organization to pair the organ with a film in this beautiful venue,” said SLOIFF Director Wendy Eidson in an e-mail interview. “It was Bert Forbes’ idea to do a screening at the PAC and use the organ.”
Mitchell, who turns 95 today, began his career as a professional silent film organist in 1924 when he was 12 years old. He founded the Mitchell Boys Choir in the ’30s, recording with legends such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. He is very excited to come participate in this event.
Following the film will be a birthday reception for Mitchell in the pavilion, with chances to speak to him and SLOIFF board members. The Atascadero High choral group will also be singing numbers from the Broadway version of “Phantom of the Opera.”
Tickets for this event are still available and can be reserved at the PAC box office at 756-2787 or online at www.pacslo.org. Student tickets are $15, and to attend the reception afterwards costs an additional $8.