EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: Phantom of the Port City

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  There is something very scary inside Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church. It’s where we find our Extraordinary Person of the Week!

“My creepy boyfriends on the stage up there guide me,” Dorothy Papadakos told Daniel Seamans.  “Literally, when I learned how to do this from Lee Erwin, the great silent film organist, he said just let the actors and story carry you.”

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Dorothy Papadakos has been a silent film organist for some 15 years.   At one time, she drew thousands of people to her shows at the Cathedral of Saint John the Devine, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral.

“We used to do silent movies there,” Papadakos said, “we’d have 3000 people come to the shows, that’s where I learned to do Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

It’s an art from the old school.



“I write cue sheets where I have melodies that I compose for each of the characters so Nosferatu, the vampires have a theme, the young lovers have a theme, there’s chase music,” Papadakos said of her upcoming performance at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Dorothy sells out shows around the world. But for this special night, she’s using Saint Paul’s great pipe organ to bring her talents home in Wilmington.

And there’s no telling what could happen when the vampires come out in the cathedral.

“I just play upside down backward forward and improvise the whole thing is improvised for 90 minutes and I swear it’s over before I know it because I’m on this ride with the audience and the characters.”

Dorothy Papadakos, your music speaks to us in silence. And that makes you…..”muaaaa ah ah ahhhh”…. Extraordinary.

Doors open at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church for the October 14th show at 6:30.  The show starts 7:30.  Tickets are $15.

You are encouraged to dress up for the show.

For more information on the event, click here.

And you can read more on Dorothy, here.