|A digital drawing I did to thank the girls and guy who joined me on my first Drinking Game stream.|
Those of you who have been following me for a few years now are probably aware that I am a huge fan of Phantom of the Opera. I fell in love with it ever since I first heard the musical in Mr. Hilinski’s music class back in 7th grade.
I have seen the Broadway musical three times and today was my forth live performance. I was anticipating this particular production because this was a newly revised production. I had thoughts going into this since I am such a fan and adored the original version so much.
I kept an open mind going into it however and now that I’ve seen it and can compare it to the original performances I have seen I feel I can give my honest opinion.
There were pros and cons….but far too many cons for my liking. I will list them both as they appeared in the show.
If you have never seen Phantom or want to be surprised about the changes, be aware that there are spoilers in this. Also know that this is going to be very in depth because I love this musical and will be speaking my mind.
My first concern might not have anything to do with the revised version, but it still bugged me. At the very beginning when the chandelier was already up in the air, covered with a tarp. I am used to it slowly rising up during the overture. I don’t think this was part of the new production though, rather limitation of space on the staging in this particular theater.
One effect I was anxious for was when the auctioneer announced “A little illumination, gentlemen!” What normally follows is a loud crack of electricity as the chandelier lights up. This time there was no loud crack, the lights just fluttered and a few sparks shot out. The loud sound gives me a rush of excitement to prepare me for the overture, but I got none. Again, not sure if this was just for this particular performance or not; but I was still disappointed.
The next part was actually pretty cool, but also led to my largest pet peeve regarding the new production. There was a large rotating platform used to change scenes such as Christine or the Manager’s office and the other side which was used for the underground pathway. At first they are standing on an open platform but slowly portions of the bricks came out forming a stairway to descend. This I really liked because it played into the engineering and magic that the Phantom developed to form his underground dwelling.
Here is why it also was a peev. What would you consider one of the most iconic and memorable parts of this performance? I would say the boat floating on mist, right? I was ready for the lit candles to rise from the mist and the two to come out on the boat. Well, it took them longer to carefully make their way down the stairs, so the boat was ALREADY waiting for them. No raised candles, they had maybe ten seconds at most on the boat that was already there. I was very disappointed as you can tell.
Music of the night, during the song Christine normally passes out due to seeing a exact replica of her in a wedding dress, in this she just up and passes out. No real reason, guess the Phantom’s singing was just that good.
Here is another part I disagree with. In the original production, when Christine wakes up, the Phantom is practicing his music with his mask on. Curiosity gets the best of her and she makes her way over and rips it off him sending the Opera Ghost into a rage.
In this production, for what reason I cannot fathom, the Phantom took off his mask and was performing without it on. I guess he just forgot Christine was there or something so he was going commando. So instead of her ripping it off and him getting pissed, it was Christine tapping him on the shoulder and him flipping out. Erik, have some common sense. If you are going to have guests, keep the damn mask on.
The next big change is also something I disagree with. When the ballet starts while they prepare Christine to take over for Carlotta, this is what the original production did. The ballerinas dances and near the end you see a silhouette of the Phantom every once in a while, they a life-sized dummy of Buquet is dropped looking like someone was thrown off the flies and killed. Very cool and awesome.
In THIS production, the rotating stage was half there so you saw the Phantom walk over to Buquet, throw the noose around his neck and casually back away letting the man hang there. The ballet dancers start screaming and freaking out a second after he’s already hanging there. I didn’t like this, I felt it took away any chance of suspense or shock. It was all, ‘Oh look, the Phantom is killing Buquet.’
I know I keep on criticizing, but there are just so many changes that I do not agree with. Such as at the end of the first act, when the Phantom sings his line, the angel he is resting upon rises up, taking him with him to the flies where he could drop the chandelier. This was a large angel statue so he sings his line and walks away. At the part where Christine takes her bow, he casually walks out from box five and says Go where the Chandelier drops.
This was also kind of cool though, because the chandelier was over the audience’s head so when it fell it stopped about fifteen feet over their heads. I am sure this must have been exciting for the patrons who were seated underneath.