When Alyssa Giannetti was a junior at Andover High School, she was cast as Christine Daaé in their production of “The Phantom of the Opera.” Now, barely six years later, she’s part of the first national tour of the sequel, “Love Never Dies,” which premiered in Detroit at the Fisher Theater this fall.
"To have it premiering in America for the first time in my hometown is just amazing,” said Giannetti.
“Love Never Dies” – which follows the characters of the Andrew Lloyd Webber mega-hit 10 years later – is Giannetti’s first professional role. She’s a swing, which means she’s covering all the female ensemble roles, and is the understudy for Christine Daaé, the character that changed the trajectory of her life in high school.
Having grown up singing in choirs, and raised on mega-musicals like Phantom, Giannetti was also really involved in sports, especially swimming. During her junior year at Andover she found out she would be the swim team captain her senior year – but then she was cast in Phantom.
After playing Christine – which Giannetti said changed her life – she quit the swim team, started applying to music schools, and was cast as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” during her senior year. From there she went to Northwestern University and studied vocal performance, focusing on musical theater and opera. During her last year at Northwestern she participated in their showcase, where she landed an agent. She had originally planned on attending grad school after Northwestern, but decided to take a chance on musical theater. She didn’t want this to be one of those moments where she found herself wishing she had done it years from now. So she moved to New York.
Once in NYC, she found herself going to open-call auditions at four or five in the morning and waiting around all day to hopefully be seen. Giannetti said that Andover – which she described as a really competitive but supportive school – helped her be prepared to work that hard.
“It’s crazy how much the places where you live and who you are with really shapes who you become,” she said. “I’m very thankful for the upbringing I had.”
Her “Love Never Dies” audition was on one of those very early mornings in fact. Giannetti said she went to their open-call last February during a very snowy day, where she was seen quickly. Then a month later she got a callback, followed by eight more, before getting the official offer to join the company. Now she’s touring all over the country, which also includes stops in Boston, where she’ll get to celebrate her brother’s 21st birthday, and see friends and family in Dallas next summer when the show performs at the same venue she saw her first musical at.
“It’s not supposed to happen this way...that you go on a national tour, the first national tour of a major show, meeting Andrew Lloyd Webber, this is not normal,” she laughed. “It’s so surreal.”
Since this experience is still so new and surreal for Giannetti she’s not looking too far ahead in the future for what comes next. She’s just trying to process every single moment of what’s happening.
“It’s really a special, really unbelievable time in my life to be sharing this amazing show,” Giannetti said. “It’s unlike anything I could’ve ever dreamed of. I’m just absolutely thankful.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent