Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Phantom of the Opera

My friend, Donna, and I went to St.Louis this weekend to see the new production of The Phantom of
Donna Seaton
the Opera
. We were planning to drive over and back on Sunday, but her husband picked up the tab for a hotel. We joked he wanted her out of the house so he could write. But, it was a much more relaxing trip going over the day before.

I can't say enough about The Fox Theatre, known as The Fabulous Fox. It originally opened as a movie theater in January 1929. Private investors bought it in 1981, and restored it to its former glory.

According to the program, "The ornate interior of the Fox has been described as 'Siamese Byzantine'." Between the chandelier, the magnificent decor including the ceiling and the enormous pillars, it's stunning to see. Donna and I saw Celtic Thunder there a month ago. But, it was the perfect venue for The Phantom of the Opera. The sound is wonderful in the theater.

I saw The Phantom of the Opera when I was in New York this last time, and, I love the 25th anniversary dvd starring Ramin Karimloo. But, this is a new production, with new sets and staging. And, I don't think anyone will be disappointed with the new set. The set turns, opens up, and there are multiple gorgeous sets. The turning set actually allows the production to fit on a smaller stage.

Chris Mann who was a finalist on The Voice, was The Phantom. He did an excellent job. Admittedly, his voice wasn't as powerful as some performers, but he made the role his own, playing it as a man who truly suffered and was drained by what he dealt with. The role of Christine Daae was played by Celia Hottenstein for our performance. She couldn't have done a better job.

Donna and I both complain when we go to musicals that the orchestra often drowns out the voices. That wasn't the case here. The orchestra was wonderful, however, we could also hear the singers.

I have a friend who is going to see this production in San Francisco so I won't spoil her enjoyment by telling more about the set, other than to say they did a magnificent job leading down to the labyrinth. But, I will mention one aspect that seemed better in this production than in the earlier one. The scenes in the manager's office when everyone receives notes from The Phantom were designed to be funny in this version. It was much better.

A better production? Not if you've seen The Phantom of the Opera before. But, I say that because there's nothing like the very first time you see it. And, I adore Ramin Karimloo so his portrayal of The Phantom in the anniversary version is special to me. But, the staging of this production is wonderful, and it's equally as powerful with The Phantom who portrays the role differently than I've seen it done. It's a special show. If you love The Phantom of the Opera, or live theater, you should see this production if you have the chance.

Outside The Fox Theatre (picture courtesy of Donna Seaton)


Margie Bunting said...

Thanks so much for your recap, Lesa! It's been so many years since we saw Phantom, so I'm excited to see it again. It will be the last of our 5-musical series in SF and wasn't even announced yet when we bought the season's tickets. Next up is Mathilda, and I'm pretty stoked about that one as well.

Lesa said...

I can't wait to hear what you think, Margie. I just didn't want to give away an "Awwwww" moment.

My Recent Favorite Books said...

The Fox Theatre sounds awesome! It sounds like you had a great time!

Lesa said...

Wonderful time, and a gorgeous theater!

Lauren said...

Gorgeous theater! I'm glad you got to attend the Phantom. Looks like a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing.

Lesa said...

Lauren, Gorgeous theater, and a wonderful show. I like the new staging of Phantom.