When you hear the name Andrew Lloyd Webber, you can't help but to think about great classics such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express, and Cats. So when I took my seat to witness this rendition of The Phantom of the Opera, I experienced nothing less than that...greatness!
This new production by Cameron MacKintosh and The Really Useful Group has it all. If you were not blown away by the top notch special effects that consists of live fire, sparks bursting out of the house chandelier, and explosions on stage; you were vicariously whisked away by the elaborate sets that would house not one, but three different scenes. In an instance, Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny (played by Ben Jacoby) sat in the box seat overlooking the stage. Then in one turn by the stage hands, the set instantly became the cold dark entrance to the Phantoms' dungeon. The scenes were very well rehearsed and seemless, as the actors moved through out the production. Lines were delivered with precision and rhythm. Comical invention was well spotted within scenes to break up the monotony of serious conversation. The orchestra conducted by Richard Carsey, lushly played every song with a cinematic feel. Chords intertwined with melodies with songs such as The Music of the Night, gave the audience what they were hoping for and left them wanting more. I was very impressed with Julia Udine who played Christine Daae', with her vocal range that allowed her to hit the searing high notes that was required by the music. As for the Phantom himself...Cooper Grodin's voice was full and robust that felt like he split the audience when a note was held.
If you have never seen Phantom of the Opera, then this would be the perfect introduction to start you on your way. If you are a veteran of the arts... I would take time out to see a new twist to this classic tale.
The Phantom of the Opera: The North American Tour is a part of the 2014/2015 Broadway Series at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and is running from August 6-24th at the Windspear Opera House. You only have a couple of days left, so do yourself a favor and check out this fantastic production!
Review by: Cy Davison