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Vroman's excited to come to S.L.

Actress and singer to perform with chamber

When actress Lisa Vroman was finally able to do this interview, she spoke quickly and sounded almost breathless with excitement. It had been quite a week, she said.

— Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber had stopped off to watch her sing the role of Christine in Broadway's production of "Phantom of the Opera."

— The musician's union was preparing to strike.

— Her mother had just come out of surgery.

Vroman said she woke up feeling as if she'd been run over.

Speaking by telephone from her apartment in New York, Vroman said the week included nine performances of "Phantom," and tensions are high because of the upcoming musicians' strike. "There's a question whether or not we will strike to be in solidarity with the musicians. We rehearse Tuesday and Friday with a tape. . . . Just for emergencies, they happened to make a tape 10 years ago in Germany with a full orchestra." Many of the Broadway productions, she said, aren't so lucky and will use a "virtual orchestra," which utilizes all-synthesized sounds.

As for the visit from Lloyd Webber, it was a great success. "It was exciting to have him there," Vroman said. "I've been doing this role for eight out of 10 years. . . . It was a relief after doing it for so long that he was pleased with it. And I got great, great feedback from him. He thought my voice was just beautiful and was ecstatic with me and the show. And sometimes he's not, so we were all breathing a major sigh of relief."

Even though the New York scene is exciting, Vroman says she's looking forward to taking a break from it all when she comes to Salt Lake City to sing Kurt Weill's "Seven Deadly Sins" with the Utah Symphony Chamber Orchestra on Thursday. In addition to the vocal piece, the symphony will also play Milhaud's "La Creation du Monde" and Weill's "Threepenny Opera" suite.

Vroman says that concerts like this re-energize and refresh her, but it sounds as if the "break" will still be a lot of work. Instead of just doing a concert version of the Weill piece, Utah Symphony/Opera director Anne Ewers will be staging it — costumes and all. Once she arrives, Vroman's schedule will be "10 to 10," she says. "It is a theater piece. 'The Seven Deadly Sins' is a set of nine pieces, and they're characters, and you can stage it. It's two sides of this split personality that goes through this little journey. It's social comment. It's kind of a psychological piece."

She added that she's looking forward to the "Seven Deadly Sins" because it represents a direction she'd like to go. "I'm really interested in 20th century music. I love the style."

And she recognizes that this sort of music "isn't something that's going to be offered me every day, every weekend. You can't just go pick and choose that kind of work. I have been in the theater world for a while. It's kind of a transition to get this kind of work and have it be more consistent, so I can let go of the theater day by day. I think that's where I'm headed."

Although she's had a lot of experience in theater, Vroman trained in classical music at Carnegie Mellon, where she met Keith Lockhart. "I have a good relationship with Keith, and we've known each other for a long time. I love working with him. He's a brilliant musician and a wonderful conductor, and knowing someone makes it even a better musical experience.

If you go . . .

What: Lisa Vroman with the Utah Symphony Chamber Orchestra

Where: Libby Gardner Concert Hall

When: 7:30 p.m., March 13

How much: $27 and $35

Phone: 355-2787 or 1-888-451-2787