Broadway Review: The Phantom of the Opera

Show Title: The Phantom of the Opera

Director: Hal Prince

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics: Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Content Rating: 15+ (I am forever confused as to why people bring small children to this show. It’s creepy and dark, and there’s no reason a child should be seeing it.)

Cast: Sierra Boggess, Norm Lewis, Jeremy Hays, Polly Baird, Ellen Harvey

Theater: The Majestic Theater

Should I pay full price for a ticket: I would say yes. The Majestic is one of the biggest houses on Broadway, and the cheap seats are exactly that: cheap. They are the worst seats in the house. Phantom has been running for forever, so they know people will pay to see it because it’s so popular.

Believe it or not, my May New York Trip was the very first time I’d seen Phantom onstage.

I know…I can hardly believe it either. My thought process went something like this: Phantom has been around for 25 years. TWENTY FIVE FREAKIN’ YEARS. In Broadway time that’s like, an eternity. So, it’ll be here forever. I’m going to see something else, and I’ll get to it eventually.

And then my NYC trip just happened to coincide with Sierra Boggess taking over the role of Christine. And I immediately bought my ticket.

While I have never seen the show live, I’ve heard many recordings, and most Christine’s, I just don’t like. BUT Sierra Boggess was STUNNING. She was so incredibly beautifully and inspiring as Christine; her voice is so smooth, flying up to all those insanely high notes completely effortlessly. I was not disappointed in the least with her performance; every note was perfect.

I know there’s a lot of hype right now about Norm Lewis being the first African-American man to play the Phantom; I wanted to say first that this is awesome, and I’m glad we are color blind casting-I don’t want anyone to think I have a problem with that. I personally didn’t love him in the part, but it has nothing to do with that. I saw him the week he was  put into the show, so maybe it was just early in the run and he hadn’t fully settled into the part yet. But I didn’t love Norm Lewis, which was disappointing for me because I was very excited to see him. His voice cracked a few times (something I’ve never heard on Broadway before), some of the passages felt like they were a little high for him, and he struggled at a few moments with set pieces. I cannot even imagine how hard it is to be put into a Broadway show, so I’m not saying he was terrible or anything, and I have great respect for the performance he did have. The majority of his performance was very good, and I’m sure, being a theater major at the time (I was supposed to be looking for details and flaws as I was writing reports for my class), I probably noticed things that no one else in the audience saw or heard.

The set was MAGNIFICENT. This show is just pure spectacle from start to finish. I bawled like a baby when the opening music played as the chandelier ascended from the stage to the ceiling of the theater. Bawled. It was ugly. The sets are so rich and enormous, and the cast was huge. Whenever a chorus number is happening, you don’t know where to look because so much is going on. It’s pretty ridiculously amazing.

I’m not a big fan of the story of Phantom, but it’s a beautiful show that is worth seeing at least once, especially since it’s so important to Theater History.

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