The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera hit its 20 year anniversary on January 26, making it the first Broadway show to do so.  It is the most successful musical of all time. 

So we checked it out to see how it holds up after all this time. 

I don’t think I am giving anything away by telling you the story, as if you didn’t know.  It is a version of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast which has been played as King Kong and others as well.  The conflict:  Can a beautiful woman love a man of powerful energy, yet sensitive inside, who is horrible to look at?

Howard McGillin is a worthy lead as the Phantom, a clandestine character who must wear a mask over half his face to cover its terrible deformity.  He dwells in the recesses of the opera house where he adopts young Christine as a student and propels her to stardom.  Does he love her or is he just interested in her in a mentor/protégé relationship?  Well of course he loves her.  But he sabotages his chances, as is often the way with people of low esteem and never gives the love a chance.  I have seen this in the parlor and the bar room.  A man has no chance with the girl whom he thinks he loves, yet he intimidates any rival who dares to approach her.  If he must be lonely, then so must she.

But Christine does meet a man, that is re-meet someone she once knew, and they develop, for better or for worse, a romance. 

What happens next, if you don’t know, go see this worthwhile production.  Christine was played by Elizabeth Loyacano at this performance, as she does every Monday and Thursday.  Jennifer Hope Wills plays it the rest of the time.  Ms. Loyacano is a good singer and acts and moves well.  No distractions here.  Where I had some problem was with the sound.  There was a septet, which I presume we were supposed to understand.  I don’t know if it was just that there were too many parts to discern or if the sound system was overloaded, but I didn’t get it.  Nonetheless, without hearing every word, I did enjoy the production.  The sets and costumes were grand and the staging was fabulous.  True to its name, the play is more opera than Broadway musical.  Patricia Philips and Tim Martin Gleason have fine operatic voices and did not disappoint.  Worth a second or third look if you are an aficionado.  If you have never seen Phantom, now is a good time.  Tickets are available and no doubt there are some discounts as well.