“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fabulous Phantom of the Opera, which opened in a Harold Prince-directed production in London in 1986 and came to New York in 1988, is still running in both cities. The original producer, Cameron Mackintosh, has hired director Laurence Connor and designers Paul Brown and Nina Dunn to reimagine Phantom using its existing book, score, and costumes. Since Mackintosh recently restaged his other megahit, Les Misérables, adding scenery and context, I had high hopes for this effort in its North American premiere.
What they’ve come up with is a production that seems geared for touring to theaters in the provinces with stages smaller than that of the Academy of Music. Action is moved into a narrow area in the center. The Act 2 opener, “Masquerade,” has become a crowded dance floor, and the production eliminates the impressive staircase down which the Phantom used to enter. A small compensation there is the addition of an overhead mirror that reflects the dancers.
Also shrunken is the Phantom’s fog-shrouded boat-ride through his underground lagoon and totally jettisoned is the solitary chair on which the Phantom used to sit during the show’s final minute. (A boy seated behind me asked his father what was going on in that scene. So much for any claim that this version is more accessible to the public.)
The director’s approach for the principal actors, however, is troubling. Cooper Grodin as the Phantom, Ben Jacoby as Raoul, and Julia Udine as Christine Daaé are louder and more abrasive than in the Broadway production. This Phantom holds Christine at a distance instead of wrapping his arms around her and caressing her face in “The Music of the Night.” This change emphasizes the lack of chemistry between Raoul and Christine — scenes that should be tender are played with detachment.
The Phantom here is noticeably youthful, which makes no sense: Madame Giry, the dance mistress who is also the Phantom’s liaison, says that his career already was in progress when she was a youngster. And, of course, he is a father-figure to Christine.
The show remains an example of satisfying musical theater. And thank goodness the original Hal Prince staging is still available to anyone who travels to New York or London.”
"That’s a great thing, to be able to have a show on television where we have women that are so strong, so competent, so brave… Where the men — all the men — take a seat back to the women in this show.” - Josh Dallas
aw man i have to start building a queue again…
just a heads up in the next few weeks i’ll be going through another semi hiatus because i will be moving over seas. :3
Raoul, I’ve been there.
To his world of unending night…
Magic doesn’t fail. People fail.
nice characters are good and important and strong
nice characters are not in any way inherently less interesting or complex or cool or badass than asshole characters
nice characters who go through hell and still remain good and kind and compassionate are so so strong
nice characters are not weak or boring or less badass, nice characters are awesome.
Folks, this isn’t Hugh Panaro, it’s Björn Olsson in Hamburg. Adding it to the photoset because it’s the fifth time it appears on my dash tagged Hugh.