You couldn’t make this up. Stephen Barry from Tralee, Co Kerry, Ireland won a scholarship to study at London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Barry, who has a vocal range from bottom E to top D, obtained a Masters Degree in Musical Theatre Despite the scholarship, the years of studying left Stephen in debt and lead to him busking for extra cash.
On 10 Nov 2016, Barry sang a track from Phantom of the Opera in Covent Garden. A lady from the audience asked him to sing All I ask of You. As Stephen tells it, “With my most withering scathing tone, I told her I can’t be doing two Phantom songs in a row”. The woman offered to sing it with him. Barry asked “Are you any good?” This is what happened:
The woman who requested All I Ask of you, and dueted with Stephen, was Celinde Schoenmaker, who was playing Christine at the Majestic Theatre at the time. She’d recognised that Stephen had a trained voice, and was up for a bit of spontaneous fun. The singing is as good as one would hope for, but what really makes the video is Barry’s unbridled delight and Schoenmaker’s warm encouragement and obvious professionalism. Barry’s starstruck reactions when Schoenmaker sings are priceless.
The video was filmed and posted by Carol E who had stopped to listen to Stephen singing songs from musicals. Struck by his “most incredible voice”, she lingered. When she picked up on the exchange with Schoenmaker, she had the presence of mind to whip out her cell phone. “I feel very privileged to have witnessed such a special moment in person” she commented. Barry went on to sing in a few stage musicals, including The Choir of Man. In 2018 he was a finalist on Ireland’s Got Talent as seen here:
According to his Facebook page, Stephen Barry is currently seeing the world by singing on Cruise Ships. His Facebook page has over 3300 followers, most of them drawn by the vial video of his impromptu Phantom of the Opera duet with Celinde Schoenmaker. As Stephen expresses it, his Facebook page consists of travel photos supplemented by “occasional writing pieces, a few songs and some questionable stories throughout”. Judging from his posts, Stephen seems to be having the time of his life (not counting the magical minutes when he sang with Phantom of the Opera’s Christine, of course). If you would like to see more from Stephen Barry, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook.