3 Phantoms production by Symphony Orchestra kicking off Governor's Conference


The 49th annual Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism kicks off Sunday in El Dorado and as a part of the opening reception, the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will present 3 Phantoms in Concert at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium, 100 W. Eighth.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for VIP ticket-holders who may participate in the full reception.

Those who purchase concert-only tickets will be welcomed inside the auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

The VIP experience includes hor d'oeuvres; exhibits from the South Arkansas Arts Center; a live art demonstration from local artists Jorge and Maria Villegas (in conjunction with the Arkansas Arts Council); and the 3 Phantoms performance.

Mayor Paul Choate and Madison Murphy, of the Murphy Oil corporation, will deliver the welcome address just before the show begins.

The concert will feature opera tenors Craig Shulman, Gary Mauer and Keith Buterbaugh and the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kermit Poling.

Poling has served as music director for SASO for more than 25 years.

A composer of ballets, concertos and orchestra events, Poling teamed up with lead tenor Shulman to put together the program for 3 Phantoms.

"This program has not been heard anywhere else," said Sara Coffman, executive director of SASO.

Shulman has appeared in the title roles of "Phantom of the Opera," "Jekyll & Hyde" and "Les Miserable" in musical theater productions.

He has also posted nearly 2,000 performances across the U.S. and the globe as antagonist Jean Valjean in the novel-turned-musical "Les Miserables."

Shulman has appeared on Broadway stages and traveled to Boston, London and other places in the Valjean role.

Coffman said Shulman came to El Dorado several years ago to help the theater department at El Dorado High School put on a production of "Les Miserables," which has also been adapted into a movie.

Mauer and Buterbaugh have also appeared onstage in "Phantom of the Opera" in venues around the world, said Coffman.

"A show like this can usually only be seen in big cities and on big stages. Where else would I be able to see these three people on stage together?" she said.

VIP tickets are $75 and include the concert and opening reception for the AGCT.

General admission tickets for the concert only are $25.

Tickets may be purchased by calling SASO at 870-310-2244 or online at southarkansassymphony.com.

For more information about the governor's conference, visit www.arkansas.com.