Broadway- Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 2pm

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Broadway- Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 2pm

Post  MajesticPhantom on Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:48 pm

I had seen the show back in January in NY, and felt that the overall quality of the production was not up to par. I felt that most of the cast lacked any real sense of urgency, and the drive that makes the show thrilling was lost.

But now the show is back in top form, and Andrews and Cryer are really doing some great work during their last two weeks. They did exactly what I felt was missing 8 months ago- Playing two men who are rounded characters instead of clowns. They had fear, needs behind their lines, and took things personally. I was actually quite moved by the two of them, and their desperation to beat the Phantom. Bravo to them! (And please know, Messrs Cryer and Andrews, if you ever read this, my criticism of your work in January is not out of disrespect, but out of an observation... I know you both are very talented, and have had the pleasure of seeing you many times over the years).

Hugh Panaro was in top form. Truly startling performance... Scary, scary, scary. What I love about his work in this current run is that he has found a sense of out-of-control/unpredictability as the character, while the actor keeps it in control for communication and choice sake. It's an amazing balance that makes for a very specific and terrifiying journey. His physical prescense is slow and ghostly, but in a more masculine way than ever before. He slays me... He is a very straight-forward Phantom, who cleverly never wears his heart on his sleave. You leave the theatre feeling unsatisfied- I don't think you ever see the WHOLE man, even in the Final Lair... you see glimpses of it, and I think that's a WONDERFUL thing to be left wanting more....

Sara Jean Ford- I still find her a little too internal sometimes... But overall, I think her interpretation of Christine is unique, brave, and interesting. She doesn't aim to be liked, which I think is VERY important... I hate seeing actors trying to be liked. She seems downright disturbed, actually, and seeing that in a Christine is refreshing, and totally mind-boggling. Bravo to her! And bravo to her lovely arc, which has become so much clearer since January. She opens up vocally and emotionally from Wishing onward, accentuating her growth into maturity. She also takes a lot of time to express her inner life...her dark sensibility. It's touching to watch.

Kyle Barisich- Was a very good Raoul. It was hard for me to banish my memory of the extraordinary Sean MacLaughlin (who went above and beyond any other interpretation I've seen. I personally believe that, by US standards, at least, MacLaughlin broke ground for the role of Raoul), but that does not mean Kyle is not good on his own merits... His Raoul is not wishy-washy, and not one-dimensional...just not necessarily ground-breaking (not everyone can be). I did learn a lot from his performance, however... He fought for Christine harder than most, and Final Lair was very strong. I found him believable, and totally engaged.

Michele McConnell- Fantastic. Great prescence, and totally not too clownish. I felt high stakes for her... I felt like she really was trying to win something throughout the show. She had some great isntincts...a really great relationship with the orchestra and the movement of her body. And she was a bit sympathetic toward Christine with "She's mad." Veyr touching.

Marilyn Caskey- I agree with everything Operafantomet said in her review, and have nothing more to add.

Other notes-

The orchestra, as conducted by David Lai, was so ON. I heard so much exciting coloring and expression from that pit that I was moved often.

The ensemble was also really ON. Again, the fear factor... Without the entire company really playing in the fear of the Phantom, the show can have flat moments (ie- all of Il Muto and Why So Silent will usually turn out dull). These moments were not flat... there was real urgency... And, of course, Panaro more than delivered the problem that produced the sum of fear!

At the end of the Graveyard scene- the fire didn't rise from the foot of the stage. Instead, those incredible low notes played as the Phantom SLOWLY disappeared into darkness. I actually preferred this. The sound of the air pushing the fire out and the fire itself usually distracts, and instead we watched this angry, motivated man slowly disappear into blackness. Sometimes mistakes reveal some incredible things.

Watching the show was interesting... this time I just sort of watched it, and didn't follow any performance, specifically... I took each scene as it came (I had never watched the show like this before). I got more of a "whole picture" that way, and found myself crying more often and in more quanities than I ever had at this show, and this was my tenth viewing! Really, really lovely work by all!

MajesticPhantom

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Re: Broadway- Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 2pm

Post  operafantomet on Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:01 am

MajesticPhantom wrote:Hugh Panaro was in top form. Truly startling performance... Scary, scary, scary. What I love about his work in this current run is that he has found a sense of out-of-control/unpredictability as the character, while the actor keeps it in control for communication and choice sake. It's an amazing balance that makes for a very specific and terrifiying journey. His physical prescense is slow and ghostly, but in a more masculine way than ever before. He slays me... He is a very straight-forward Phantom, who cleverly never wears his heart on his sleave. You leave the theatre feeling unsatisfied- I don't think you ever see the WHOLE man, even in the Final Lair... you see glimpses of it, and I think that's a WONDERFUL thing to be left wanting more....
I SOOOO second this. I think you managed to describe his current Phantom better than I did.


Kyle Barisich- Was a very good Raoul. It was hard for me to banish my memory of the extraordinary Sean MacLaughlin (who went above and beyond any other interpretation I've seen. I personally believe that, by US standards, at least, MacLaughlin broke ground for the role of Raoul), but that does not mean Kyle is not good on his own merits... His Raoul is not wishy-washy, and not one-dimensional...just not necessarily ground-breaking (not everyone can be). I did learn a lot from his performance, however... He fought for Christine harder than most, and Final Lair was very strong. I found him believable, and totally engaged.
I think that was pretty much my feeling too. He did everything right, and I absolutely liked him. But having seen one giving his heart and soul to the role, making it both important and outstanding (for me that would be Tomas Ambt Kofod in Copenhagen), makes a perfectly fine Raoul just... perfectly fine.


Michele McConnell- Fantastic. Great prescence, and totally not too clownish. I felt high stakes for her... I felt like she really was trying to win something throughout the show. She had some great isntincts...a really great relationship with the orchestra and the movement of her body. And she was a bit sympathetic toward Christine with "She's mad." Veyr touching.
I really liked her too. Lovely strong voice without sounding hammering, and overall just a great role interpretation. She's high on my dig list. I like a Carlotta with both a strong edge and a soft spot.


At the end of the Graveyard scene- the fire didn't rise from the foot of the stage. Instead, those incredible low notes played as the Phantom SLOWLY disappeared into darkness. I actually preferred this. The sound of the air pushing the fire out and the fire itself usually distracts, and instead we watched this angry, motivated man slowly disappear into blackness. Sometimes mistakes reveal some incredible things.
Sounds cool, to be honest. I agree that mishaps sometimes is cooler. Maybe just because it offers an alternate take on a scene. For example, I would not have all Phantoms skip the Mandarine coat when composing, yet I found it awesome when Earl Carpenter once did it. I also loved it in Copenhagen when the chandelier fell and some of the light bulbs didn't go out during the blackout. You could see (and hear!) the chandelier fell to the stage, and it kept glowing when "crashed". THAT I would love to see again. But mostly I think it's the variation of something I know well that is appealing to me.


Watching the show was interesting... this time I just sort of watched it, and didn't follow any performance, specifically... I took each scene as it came (I had never watched the show like this before). I got more of a "whole picture" that way, and found myself crying more often and in more quanities than I ever had at this show, and this was my tenth viewing! Really, really lovely work by all!
I basically did the same! That's funny. And I SO bawled like a baby during the Overture. Haven't done that in ages. I guess I was just so happy to finally see it on Broadway. That, plus a bit of wine... But it was good to cry at Phantom again. Laughing

Happy 10th, by the way! Glad it was an awesome one.

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