The Phantom of the Opera was HERE! May 6, 2014

The day finally arrived!!!! PHANTOM DAY!!!! WOOOOOOOOOO! Insert happy dancing!

Now, I have to say that I am a fairly new Phan to the Phantom Family. My Grams who LOVES P.O.T.O. has been trying to get me into it for years but it wasn’t until I went to see the live 25th anniversary broadcast with my friend L.P. that I feel in love. I mean, how could you not?! Beautiful music, beautiful sets, beautiful story… and ya know, beautiful people:

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Hadley, Ramin, and Sierra during the curtain call

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Stage testing old Raoul makeup and the Phantom mask/wig. The 3 of them are totally besties

Shortly afterwards, I drew Gracie into the Phantom Phandom and so when we both went to London last year you can bet we went to see it live. It was breath taking. Absolutely breathtaking.

The Theatre

The Theatre

View from our seats! 10 rows back!

View from our seats! 10 rows back!

Raoul in London

Raoul in London

 

 

I shortly discovered though that Gracie is committed to her “Team Phantom”. During the “All I Ask of You (Reprise)” sang by the Phantom I noticed she was sobbing her little heart out.

Intermission Check in

Intermission Check in

You see, from what I have gathered in my short time as a Phantom Phan, there seem to be 2 factions of fans. “Team Raoul” aka my team, believe that Christine and Raoul belong together (and we all chose to FORGET Love Never Dies even exists!) and “Team Phantom” aka Gracie and L.P’s team, that believe the Phantom and Christine belong together.  The only thing is just how upset it makes my baby sister. It’s so sad but so adorable.

(More on this later)

So needless to say, we were both incredibly excited to see that Phantom was touring in the US again! Mom and Grams joined us last night at the Aronoff Center here in Cinci to see it.  We were pumped! We unfortunately sat almost as far back as you possibly could but it was still awesome! We had heard that they made some changes with the performance and the sets but we went in with an open mind.  Overall, I thought it was awesome!! Meet the Phantom:

Cooper Gradin

Cooper Gradin

And Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny:

Ben Jacoby

Ben Jacoby

I cannot say enough good things about these guys. They were AMAZING! Their voices were flawless and worked so well together. I was in awe from the first note I heard. Brava guys!

I read a review from the Cincinnati Enquirer that said there were 2 things that could have been better: the sets and the chemistry between Raoul and Christine. Sadly, I kind of agree with them.

First, the sets. I just want to state here and now that the “Phantom of the Opera” sequence going into his lair was brilliant! The trek to the sewers, the boat ride, his lair, flawless. I’m always impressed by how people make it fresh and different each time.  Beside that, I missed the grand staircase during “Masquerade” and the office of the Theater owners was a lame cop out but that was the only “problems” I had with it. I know that as a touring company there have to be some modifications.

Second, the chemistry. Whomever wrote the review, I think needed to say that is was Christine’s chemistry with everyone that needed work. She played the character too childish for me. She flitted around the stage and never seemed to really make a connection with anyone. Both of the boys had great chemistry. In fact, I enjoyed watching their interactions more than Christine/Phantom and Christine/Raoul. I think the men had enough passion for the whole play. Like when the Phantom pulled Christine to him all sexy like. Gorgeous! Or the first Raoul/Christine kiss. So cute!

One major change in this production was the Phantom’s portrayal. They sent him back to more of the book Phantom. Darker and more murderous than Ramin’s portrayal in the 25th. You actually see the Phantom kill people in this one.  As a Raoul/Christine “shipper” I like this a lot but also as a theater lover it really added to the play! It made him more sinister.

Which did not sit well with my sister. ” He just wanted somebody to love him!” is the common mantra I get from her regarding Phantom. My sister is so kind hearted ( like my Momma) and never judges anyone on face value. She especially hates injustice of any kind. The Phantom getting tormented and shunned from society due to a medical abnormality he couldn’t control is just too much for her heart to handle. She likes to forget (or rationalize) the whole bit about him murdering people. He’s just misunderstood. I can see that. I understand that. If I hadn’t of seen Hadley Fraser (So cute! So SO cute!) as my first Raoul I’d probably be right there with her. I will say though, that every time the Phantom screams ” GO NOW AND LEAVE ME!” in anguish at the end of the “Final Lair” scene I tear up and choke back a sob on his behalf. No one wants to be alone. We were not made for a life of solitude.

Unfortunately, Grace ends up like this:

Heartbreak London, 2013

Heartbreak
London, 2013

In short, go see the new production if you have time to! You won’t regret it!

Lots of Love from Me

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