Back in the Spotlight : Dale Kristien, known for her role in ‘Phantom,’ performs at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank.


During the four years-plus that she played Christine Daae, the object of the title character’s tortured affections in the Los Angeles production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” Dale Kristien was on stage for 2 1/2 hours each performance, while the masked man was visible a mere 27 minutes. Yet, she says, her role was considered the “second banana” part.

Saturday night, however, Kristien assumes headliner status, guest starring in the opening concert of the Burbank Symphony Orchestra’s summer pops series at the Starlight Bowl. Her second-act, 35-minute set includes selections from “Phantom,” of course, along with a number of other Broadway songs. All of the tunes are taken from her recently released debut solo recording, “The Beauty of Broadway.”

Though she has performed solo at fund-raisers and joined other singers for a Pacific Symphony concert, the Starlight outing is Kristien’s first star turn with an orchestra.


“We wanted to do a concert to launch the album,” she says, relaxing with her golden retriever in the cozy cottage-style home she has owned in Burbank for the past three years. “Living here, I knew about the Starlight Bowl. I wanted to start humbly--it’s not the Hollywood Bowl. So I called around and found out who to contact.”

Her part of the evening is conducted by veteran musical director Larry Blank and staged by theatrical director David Galligan, with whom Kristien has worked for all 10 of the annual Los Angeles benefits for AIDS-related projects sponsored by Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event. Her twin sister, Pittsburgh Symphony cellist Gail Czajkowski, who plays on the album, also will be featured at the concert.

“Being on stage in front of a full orchestra is thrilling,” Kristien says. “The hardest thing about it, though, is remembering the words. It’s never a problem in a play, because you have a reference point. But in a concert it’s out of context, and you’re in the same outfit.”

Not that the “Phantom” numbers--”Think of Me,” “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” and “All I Ask of You”--will be problematic, she says with a laugh. To perform the last, a love duet between Christine and the Phantom’s rival Raoul, she has recruited Bill Hutton, who originated the title role on Broadway in another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

The rest of the repertoire includes songs from such musicals as “Peter Pan,” “She Loves Me,” “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” “Irene” and “The Secret Garden.” Those songs, in turn, had made the final cut for Kristien’s “The Beauty of Broadway” recording after Galligan whittled hundreds of possibilities down to 54, then teamed with Kristien, Blank and the album’s executive producers, Neal and Sandy Davis, for the ultimate 14 selections.

Indeed, it is the Davises who are responsible for the album’s existence. As a director for Morris Air in Salt Lake City, Neal Davis and his wife, Sandy, had escorted 42 tours to Los Angeles, each including a performance of “Phantom.” Impressed with Kristien, they approached her agent about a solo album, bankrolling it themselves.


“We saw Dale, and loved her voice,” Neal Davis says. “We thought that perhaps there was too much of a spotlight on the Phantom. She was the real workhorse--1,700 performances (in Los Angeles and a previous eight-month Broadway stint). We’d go to the Music Center gift shop and people would constantly ask if there were an album out. So we met with Dale the first part of this year.”

Recorded in March with a full orchestra, the album has been selling well locally, Davis says. It will soon be distributed nationally, and will be heard on some airline flights.

For her part, Kristien welcomed the chance to make a recording while her voice is in good shape. “I didn’t know anything about the recording business,” she says. “We’ve all been learning together.” I’d like to do a second Broadway album. And, I’d like to do a Christmas album--a Kristien Christmas!”

At the end of this month, Kristien is scheduled to appear in the musical “Fashion” at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. She also plans to pursue her newfound concert career. “This is another completely different avenue,” she says. “I like it. Let’s see how it goes.”

Where and When

Who: Dale Kristien with the Burbank Symphony Orchestra.

Location: Starlight Bowl, 1249 Lockheed View Drive, Burbank.

Hours: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Price: $20 for box seats, $10 and $7 for reserved seats and $5 for general admission on the grass.

Call: Tickets available through TicketMaster, and the Burbank Symphony Assn. at (818) 846-5981.