Ashley Watson stars as Christine in 'Phantom of the Opera' (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Ashley Watson stars as Christine in ‘Phantom of the Opera’ (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Outside of their bloodline, Ashley Watson, her mom Kathy Tallis Watson and grandmother Joan Tallis all have something in common: the annual musical at Woodrow Wilson High School.

Ashley is a senior in Woodrow’s International Baccalaureate program, and this year she was chosen to play Christine, the lead in “Phantom of the Opera.”

Ashley was also selected for the title role in “Annie” last year, a surprise to her and her whole family because she was only a junior at the time. Typically only seniors are chosen as lead roles.

Maybe it had something to do with the good luck charm her mom gave her?

Before the audition for “Annie,” Kathy gave Ashley a necklace that Joan had given her when she auditioned for the lead in “Guys and Dolls” when she was a senior at Woodrow. And guess what? Kathy also got the lead part.

But more likely than not, it has to do with a certain family trait that has been passed down through the generations: a powerful singing voice.

That’s when they call in their secret weapon: Joan.

Although 86-year-old East Dallas neighbor Joan was never a star in the Woodrow musical herself, she taught many of the students who were.

She has been a voice teacher in East Dallas since the ‘70s, and if you’ve been around the Woodrow musical for long, chances are you’ve heard of her.

“Whenever I’m at the school and tell people, ‘My mom is Joan Tallis,’ they’ll say, ‘Oh my son took lessons from her’ or ‘Oh my friend took lessons from her,’” Kathy says.

“Not only did she help so many leads and supporting roles, but she helped with the auditions as well.”

And that isn’t even the end of the family’s involvement in the musical. Kathy has served as both the co-chair and chair of the Woodrow musical board.

“It’s quite a production,” Kathy says. “The most unique thing about it is that it’s such an important part of our community.”

What: Woodrow’s spring musical, “The Phantom of the Opera”

When: April 21-April 24

Where: 100 S. Glasgow in the school’s auditorium

Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at the door

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