To get in the context here, you need to know two things about me. First of all, I’ve always been a big theater fan (theater, opera, ballet, you name it). Second of all, the better part of my years from 12-16 was spent watching-singing-reciting-learning-reading and fanfictioning (if there is such a word) the Phantom of the Opera. Safe to say I know everything there is to know about all of it, including: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, all the books, most of the all-time favorite fanfictions and of course all movies from the 1925 silent one till the latest at 2004.
At a point in my life, I lived and breathed this story, it helped me cope with the lonelier teenage years. And even after so many years, if I have trouble falling asleep, it is not uncommon that I just play Music of the Night and fall asleep to it like a baby.
So you could have imagined my awe when I found out that we would be seeing it on Broadway. The one, the original.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
The good stuff: the music is always amazing (though the choice of the specific version of the songs is a different question), the costumes were spectacular, and some of the supporting roles were amazing. The best Madam Giry and managers I’ve ever seen.
Singing voice wise I had no issues with anyone.
Raoul was okay, I’m the type of fan who would prefer if he died a tragic death about 3 minutes into the play (Phantom+Christine=perfection) but the actor was good, nice voice. Safe for the barrel roll under the rising bar in the lair scene – they are rising… not even slowly, why not just wait or duck down? – he had the least issues.
Christine in this version was… semi-okay? I had a distinct Disney princess vibe coming off of her and in the scene of Don Juan Triumphant she looked positively in heat. Which would be okay in a sense but come on… Christine is supposed to be an innocent 16 year old in 1881… she would not spread her legs like that on stage and caress them.
But the Phantom. Oh my greatest god. I don’t know which was the worst. The zombie crawl in tune with the music when Christine tore of his mask? The red death costume that was obviously way too big to move in? Or the kissing scene which I have no words to describe?
His voice was really great, but not strong enough for this role and Christine did out-sing him on various occasion.
All in all, I’m very disappointed. If you want to see this show done properly come over to Europe, go for London, go for Budapest, you’ll see how it should be done. When a 30 years old musical still can give you chills. This… this was an after school production.
Oh and let’s not forget the chandelier drop. I honestly though first that someone tossed a rather large plushie on stage for the actors. No reaction it by the cast and immediately the closed the curtains, then the break followed. Just to compare, when the chandelier fell in Budapest, people in the audience literally screamed because it was so real.
Broadway, get it together please… I’ll have to watch the movies on the way back home to make up for this.