It’s been almost 20 years since I saw THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in the theater, and yet as I sat there, and the lights dimmed, and the first musical notes floated up, it was like I had been transported back in time…but with way better effects.
For those that haven’t seen it, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a disfigured, but brilliant, man who lives in the tunnels beneath the Paris Opera House. Very talented, but also very disturbed, he becomes deeply obsessed with a young ingenue, Christine Daae, and teaches her to sing by posing as her “angel of music” sent by her dead father. He uses his powers of intimidation to get the opera owners to do his bidding, including making Christine the lead soprano. He also kidnaps her, almost rapes her, and makes her choose between her fiance’s death and staying with him, all the while professing he only wants to be loved. Many people find him to be a romantic and heroic figure. Others (myself included) find him to be a creepy, abusive, stalker.
Stalker aspects aside, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood is truly a masterpiece. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music is as beautiful and haunting as it has always been, and if you haven’t heard the original Broadway recording you’re honestly missing out on something spectacular.
The touring cast is wonderful! Eva Tavares gives a beautiful portrayal of Christine, and her light, pretty voice is the perfect compliment to Derrick Davis’ smooth, strong delivery as the Phantom. David Benoit as Firmin, and Rob Lindley as André bring a perfect amount of humor to the stage, and I have to say that in the four Phantom performances I’ve seen, this one had the best rendition of Notes, hands down. But for me, the show was stolen by Trista Moldovan, whose portrayal of Carlotta absolutely lit up the stage. Her voice was spectacular, even when it was supposed to be “bad”, her comedic timing was impeccable, and she wore her lavish costumes like she was born in them.
However, what pushed this performance over the top for me was the stunning set design. As I sat there and watched my favorite scenes come to life I was absolutely blown away, especially when Christine and the Phantom descended into the bowls of the theater. It begins far above our heads with a door opening to nowhere and includes a dozen or so “magically” appearing platforms and steps as they descend to the fog covered lake and into the famous boat. If you are a fan of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, this is a must see. And if you’re not…you will be!
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is playing at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. now through July 7. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2:00 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1:00 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $42–$225. Length is 2 hours and 35 minutes, including intermission. Ages 10 and up please; children under 5 will not be admitted to the theater. For more information call 800-982-2787 or visit hollywoodpantage