Musical singer shares experiences


Olivia Lusk, Reporter

As Big Spring’s cast of Phantom of The Opera prepares to masquerade across the stage, advice for the cast is coming from an unlikely source. Junior Stephen Kleckner’s grandmother, Dorothy ‘Dot’ Byrne, is no stranger to the phenomenon of Phantom of The Opera as she portrayed the role of Madame Giry in the first national Broadway tour.

A national tour is where the cast, costume, and set pieces travel to different theaters across the country or world. “The national tour I was on was unusual because we sat in a particular city for two months at a time.” Byrne said. At the time, the marketing experts behind the tour determined they could extend their profit by having the tour stay in venues for a few months rather than switch every few weeks. Theaters would sell out every night; audiences were dying to see the phenomenon. The touring cast recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the tour.

Despite her time in Phantom of the Opera, Byrne’s true love lies within the opera community. However, she has not always had a career in music. Byrne was involved in theater in high school but ended up not pursuing it professionally. She originally received a Master’s degree in business. “[I was] not particularly satisfied…”  Byrne said. “One has to feel accomplished in themselves, and I needed to sing.”

With the help of a professional vocal teacher, Byrne discovered her opera abilities. She even participated in an opera recording that was Grammy nominated. She attended the 2007 Grammy awards with her daughter. “They say ‘oh it’s just wonderful to be nominated even though I didn’t win.’ Uh uh. It is much better to win because I didn’t win!” Byrne said.

Through all of her experiences. Byrne has learned many sentiments about life. “Seek advice. Don’t assume you know everything. I think every sixteen-seventeen year old believes they know the answer to everything. I sure as heck did, and of course I did!” Byrne said.

Byrne is now retired from full time opera performing. She now lives near Hershey and frequently travels around the United States.