The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most distinguished shows in the musical theatre universe. When I heard that I was going to finally be able to see the new touring show, the American debut no less, I was understandably excited. The house was packed and excitement high. As the curtain fell I readied myself and waited for a master piece. I’m still waiting.
Before I get into the details I know there are people out there who will love the show no matter what, if you are one of them this next sentence is for you. The Phantom of the Opera is playing at the Orpheum December 14- January 5 and the chandelier drop works. Now back to the skeptics. Like I mentioned before I have never seen the show before and came with a clean slate of what to expect. I may have not been able to recognize of they deviated from the story, but I can tell when dancers lose there time. The ballet was well choreographed and would have been beautiful if anyone had been doing it together. In fact all the movement seemed forced and over-dramatic (yes even for musical theatre love stories).
The show had a myriad of minor technical problems including but not limited to changing accents, laughable pyrotechnics, and shoddy Phantom high notes. All of which is unfortunate, but the real thing that turned the Phantom sour for me was the tome of the entire show. As anyone familiar with the show already knows the story is as about as over the top as it gets. It doesn’t need sprucing to make its presence heard. I feel the need to ask If fire absolutely needs to erupt from the stage in eight places to make the show feel magical? If we need to watch a four minute robe dance to convince us the Phantom truly love her. If I have to feel like a pretentious theatre going stereotype at a show that should make me recognize how powerful Broadway can be. In the end I would argue against the over the top additions to a show that can already fend for itself.
If big lights and sounds and nostalgia for an ill defined time period and masked men then the show is for you. Just really tell me if you think hanging on a golden angel for five minutes really increased your enjoyment of the classic “love story”.