Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

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Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  Paula74 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:08 pm

OK, the preliminaries. I wasn't optimistic that I'd make it to this show because I'm juggling a lot of projects and work, but there was just no way I could stand missing it. So, with only days to go, I got a ticket for Orchestra Row S. Not a bad seat at all, despite the overhang of the mezzanine.

After a painfully boring bus ride to NYC, I went straight to the box office to pick up my ticket and, once it was in my hands, I was sort of silently cheering. Actually, it took a lot of restraint NOT to cheer out loud.

I was trying to call home to let my partner know I'd arrived safelt and wandered over to 45th Street find a quiet spot near the Marriott. I was having trouble with my phone and almost didn't notice this skinny guy with a handsome black Labradoodle about two feet away. Wink

Having attended several of these special shows before (the record-breaking performance in 2006, the 23rd birthday matinee, and now the 10,000th), the one things that always stands out for me is the special vibe in the air. The pre-show chatter in the lobby and in the house is louder, but in a good way. You can tell a lot of the audience has seen the show before and there's just this really great sense of excitement. Compared to the record-breaking show, I actually felt that mix of energy and enthusiasm to be even stronger. Maybe because this one was more open to regular people to attend as opposed a “by invitation” show with only a few tickets released to the general public at the last minute.

So, right from the time the doors opened and those ticket-scanners started beeping, you just knew it was special. In fact, there were a few people in the lobby who'd never seen the show before and didn't know this was a milestone performance – they probably just bought tickets as part of NYC vacation plans – who were asking, “Is something special going on today?” Because it was clear just from the level of excitement around them that something was out of the ordinary. I overheard two girls from Japan saying this was their first time and a guy standing near them began to gush to them that the show was “life changing!” That made me smile.

There's something always awesome about getting to your seat and seeing the stage all draped in dark cloth with the chandelier lurking under that big canvas drape.

It was great seeing just how full the house was. “Every seat sold!” Plus the boxes were full and there were people in the standing-room spots.

I was, unfortunately, not sitting next to any fun people to chat with. The couple on my left were older tourists who commented to each other (in Russian, I think) during the show (not enough to spoil it, but enough to make me give them DEATH GLARES more than once). Not to mention, they seemed to have made a point of eating several pounds of raw garlic each before the show. It was a bit...unpleasant. The older woman on the other side (who crammed about six large shopping bags on the floor around her) of me seemed to think I'd never seen the show before and felt the need to loudly inform me that she saw Michael Crawford as The Phantom on Broadway years AFTER he'd left. And that the ushers are all volunteers – just like she does at her local theater somewhere on Long Island. I just let her talk and thought to myself, “Sure, you've seen the show ten times. But I can do you one better. I just got a kiss from Soot. Razz "

Lots of cheers when the house lights went down. As I expected.

During the Auction, I was thinking of what someone here posted (meglett, I think) about how Hal Prince directed that scene as an allegory with the Auctioneer being Death Himself. Which made me noticed how skull-like the Auctioneer's make-up is. The three human skulls got more laughs than usual.

The Overture always gives me a thrill, but for some reason, it's never looked or sounded better. The audience began to cheer when the chandelier swung upwards.

I always love the Hannibal rehearsals because there is just so much going on at once which really makes it feel like we're witnessing an actual rehearsal.

Michelle McConnell is an excellent Carlotta. Vocally, she's quite flamboyant; I kept thinking of a phrase Hugh uses sometime - “Barbra-ing it up.” She's very much the over-the-top diva, but definitely stops short of being a caricature.

I love the new Piangi, Christian Sebak. He's very funny (even a bit sassy) and assertive. Both “RomA” and his struggles to climb onto the elephant got a lot of laughs. This is my second time seeing Jim Weitzer as Reyer and he's probably my favorite in the role. And I covet that brown velvet jacket. And it was my second time seeing Cristin J. Hubbard as Madame Giry and I liked her performance as much as I did last time. She's a little less imposing that Marilyn Caskey, but suitably mysterious.

Trista Moldovan is now a very serious contender for my favorite Christine. While I'd heard some good reviews of her from the tour, I'd never heard her at all so my impressions were all fresh. Her voice is a bit more operatic than some other Christines (I think her vibrato was a little heavy here and there,) but that's fine because Christine is making her operatic debut after all. Her “Think of Me” is beautiful. This is a song which I love to listen to by itself on my iPod, but I can get a little restless during this part of the show because I'm just anxious to get to the Mirror and title song...but she absolutely held my interest throughout...from her very nervous start to her lovely, exuberant cadenza. The Elissa gown was bright and sparkly and looked very new.

I liked Reyer's interaction with Christine after her bows. It seemed very genuine. Madame Giry's “You were a disgrace” to the ballerinas got laughs. And I silently squee'd at Hugh's “Bravi, bravi, bravissimi.”

Usually, I don't care for Heather McFadden as Meg. But I really liked her this time. I actually peeked at my Playbill because, for a moment, I thought it was an understudy. Very good acting from both Trista and Heather during “Angel of Music” and I had a lovely vantage point to watch the other ballet girls in the “Degas scene.”

Nothing astounding about Kyle during “Little Lotte.” Believable acting from him, even more so from Trista. She's very realistic in her joy at seeing a dear friend from her childhood, but also fearful of being reprimanded by her Angel. It really sets things up well for the next moments.

Hugh's “Insolent boy” damn nearly made me jump out of my shoes (and it's not exactly easy to jump out of tightly-laced, ankle-high Aminta boots). This was the best Mirror scene yet. Hugh commanding and frightening, but also very hypnotic and Trista going perfectly from fear of reprimand to ecstatic.

More later because my partner's client just showed up...and I'm the only one who knows how to use the new printer.

Continuing while dinner cooks...

I should add that, from where I was sitting, I had a great view of the mirror sliding open to reveal The Phantom and of Christine stepping inside.

Spontaneous cheers for the first notes of the title song as the first set of doubles crossed the stage and descended into the trap door.

The boat scene is, visually, one of my favorites from any musical. When I first discovered Phantom and saw little clips like the performance on the Tony Awards, I remembered how much I wanted to actually see that part live and, even after more than two dozen performances, I still look forward to it. For some reason, the candles rising from the lake seems bigger and brighter than usual...but I didn't think anything was unusual about that since the whole show really seemed fresh (costumes, lighting, orchestra, etc.) It turned out the fog machine didn't work! I didn't even realize there hadn't been fog until I got home and saw a post about it on some other board. But I guess I was so caught up in the show that I just didn't realize there was no fog.

Slow, suave sexy wig-slick from Hugh. I love Trista's reaction at the end of her cadenza. Her eyes go wide and she raises her hand to her throat as if she can't believe what she just did or just how she did it.

Gorgeous “Music of The Night” from Hugh. Vocally very powerful and seductive, a little predatory (though definitely not as much as when I saw him with Sara Jean Ford last year). “Soar” just seem to float delicately in the air for a moment. And there are moments where it also seems he's not only trying to convince her to embrace the darkness, but it seems as if trying to convince himself of something, too. Like he's assuring himself she's there to sing and serve his music and not JUST for...other reasons (majorly wandering hands during “Music shall caress you”). I love, love, love that Trista doesn't just stand there like a pretty automaton during the song (nooooo...I'm not jabbing at LND...not all...nooooo). She's constantly reacting to this hypnotic, but still very crazy situation she's found herself in.

Portcullis sprawl!!!!

Ahem.

Powerful “be” there. Loved it. Gorgeous “Floating, falling” and “Touch me, trust me” due to excellent chemistry between Hugh and Trista.

Loved her reaction to the wedding dress. There's shock because, really, you've just gone to this strange place full of candles with this Angel-of-Music-Who-Is-Also-The-Phantom-of-The-Opera and now he's showing you a wedding gown...but also she's touched by the gesture. There's a sweet little moment of, “It's beautiful! Is it really for me?” Then the Mirror Bride tips forward and the poor girl faints.

I think this was the longest I've heard him hold the song's last night. It seemed to go on forever, well after the applause started. And, wow, such a great repsonse from the audience. Definitely heard some “Bravos!”

Spent a few moments ogling the Mandarin robe. Such a rich costume. Hugh was very into composing (which made me think for a VERY brief moment how Gerik is shown at the organ, but he's never really shown obsessing over music). As if this Phantom was really sublimating his desire for human companionship and physical contact into the music.

In retrospect, the line “I remember there was mist” is a bit funny given that there wasn't any.

Trista did a great job with this scene. There's definitely confusion and worry along with the last bit of enchantment and it makes the unmasking seem less random or mean. This young woman went from her dressing room to this strange lair, discovered her Angel is not just a real man, but also THE Phantom. You don't really blame her for wanting to know “whose is the face in the mask.”

Hugh's reaction to being unmasked was a long moment of being frozen with shock, followed by stumbling rage and a really bitter crawl across the floor. Trista's Christine seemed truly sorry for having ripped the mask off and, when she hands it back, it's more of a way of saying “I'm sorry” as opposed to “Cover your face, please.” Almost as if – for a tiny moment - there's a slim chance of a real conversation between them. But then he grabs her hand and tells her they must return...almost like it's a way to avoid explanations. He has no real social skills and doesn't know where to go from there, so he'll just take back instead of dealing with the situation.

Good “Magical Lasso” scene with the ballet rats really very into Buquet's story.

Notes I and Prima Donna...first, I want that darned desk from the Managers' Office. I love desks. I love that desk. I want it.

It was very odd not to see familiar Managers here. I've seen about five Firmins, but only one Andre so it was almost jarring NOT to see George burst through the door. It did take some getting used to.

Kevin Lingan's Firmin reminds me of something out of Dickens. He's not as starchy as some of the previous Firmin's I've seen. He's still the “greedy” one, but amusing and likeable. Aaron's Andre is very high-strung. Vocally, he's not as strong as George was, but he had terrific comic timing once I got used to him. Everyone was in great form here...Meg was genuinely concerned for her friend, Madame Giry mysteriously authoritative with everyone in the room while awed by the Phantom. Kyle's Raoul started to grow on me from this point. He's angered by the notes, angry at being “stood up” Christine, but that gives way to real concern when he realizes there are bizarre things happening in the Opera House.

“Il Muto” was very entertaining. Trista's Christine-as-Serafimo is adorably sassy. The costumes looked wonderfully lavish. Everyone on stage seemed to be really having fun with the scene. My only little disappointment is that John Keuthar as Don Attilio doesn't have that wicked long low note like Greg Rahming did. Otherwise, he's a very funny and animated Don Attilio.

I was a little too far back under the mezzanine to see Hugh on the catwalk. A very minor disappointment, though. Totally insane laughter.

Once again, it was so odd to see Aaron instead of Andre ordering the ballet to be brought on, but he was very, very funny and got a lot of laughs from the audience. The Sylvan Glade ballet was just lovely with just the right amount of fear being built up as the shadow appears behind them.

One thing I love about this show is the fact that, no matter how many times I see it, I definitely notice a new detail or two every single time. Case in point: this was the first time I noticed that, after the panic when Buquet's body drops from the flies, Meg is the last dancer on the stage and that her mother pulls her away into the wings.

The rooftop set really is so atmospheric with the lights of Paris shining off in the distance. And the Countess dress looks so fresh and pretty.

I honestly didn't expect to like Kyle as Raoul. I've heard some very “meh” reviews of him and didn't care for his voice in the one clip I'd already seen. And, because Sean was such an absolutely incredible Raoul, I was almost ready to dislike his replacement by default. But, to my really huge surprise, I liked him. A lot. I didn't even care for his voice all that much. A bit too much vibrato and there's a bit of a lisp to his “s” and “sh.” But he really came across as very caring, protective, and this Raoul really seemed to love Christine and want the best for her...not just going through the motions to score with a pretty ingenue or to patronize a childhood friend. He doesn't believe in this Opera Ghost, but he does understand something IS very amiss. Trista had great chemistry with him, too. I really felt that this Christine truly loved Raoul and she wasn't just running into his arms as the most convenient escape from her problems. I think I was silently “awwwwwing” during their kisses.

That moment when the Phantom's hands reach over the top of the angel is always chilling. Always. And I always love the way the grief of the sobbed “Christine” builds into this awful rage as the angel rises. Powerful and very raw “Go!” And, of course, huge applause for the Slowly Falling Light Fixture of Doom and Destruction.

Act II...


As with before the show, there was lots of enthusiastic chatter during intermission. I ignored the noxious fumes from the couple on my left. The woman on my right sort of looked like she wanted to strike up a conversation, but I'd promised to call home at intermission...so I did just that. For a moment, a design similar to the special Playbill cover was projected in white light on the curtain. It was so pretty, but it was too brief. I think there may have been a problem with the projector.

The Managers got plenty of laughs when they came creeping on stage. You got the sense they were indeed nervous about The Phantom spoiling the party. The revelation of the skeleton body suit got enthusiastic laughs.

Masquerade has never been more spectacular. Partly because they'd clearly done a lot of work to refresh the costumes (I'm hardly the costume expert, but I could still tell) and partly because the great energy of the special day really came through with the entire cast. It was just stunning. It was one of the best I've seen; the only one that tops it by a hair is the record-breaking show and that's only because the 2006 performance had extra ensemble members flown in from the tour.

My suspicion that the smelly couple on my left were newbies was confirmed by the fact that they really seemed shocked when Red Death appeared.

As usual, I waited to see if the DJT score would be dropped. But that's probably because I can't catch anything to save my life.

It also seemed as if Hugh didn't move as far to the side of the stage for the flash-and-vanish. It all seemed much closer to the center of the stage than I remembered. That might just have been the angle I was sitting at, though.

Apparently, those smelly newbies next to me were very impressed by Red Death because they felt the need to discuss it during Madame Giry's tale...which is much more effective than the prolonged gypsy flashback in the movie and really makes the stage Phantom more interesting.
Notes II...the one thing that stood out most here was the fact that you could see Raoul being at a loss to deal with the situation and then hitting on the plan to trap the Phantom out of necessity. It's still not the best plan in the world, but it didn't seem so random. Also, I was very amused at how nervous Firmin looked stepping between Christine and Carlotta...like he was really afraid these two ladies were going to start a genuine hair-pulling, face-scratching cat-fight in his office.

There was a really nice bit of ambiguity about the Don Juan rehearsal. When the magic piano began to play, I was left wondering if the ensemble was singing under the Phantom's spell for a moment or if they snapped to attention and sang correctly out of fear of what he'd do if they didn't.

As always, I love the cemetery scene. I have no idea if there was fog or not, but the set design and the lighting were more than enough to completely evoke a desolate graveyard at twilight. Not to mention, I'm an unrepentant taphophile.

Trista's “Wishing You Were Here Again” is just simply stunning. It's one of the most believable I've seen. You really sense how “shattered” she was at her father's death and how all these emotions – grief, fear, loneliness, the need to live up to her father's dreams for her, the realization that it made her vulnerable to The Phantom's manipulations – were just rushing to the surface there by the tomb. My eyes were definitely tearing up, but I was trying not to cry because I knew what was coming later.

I always love “Wandering Child,” partly because of the cemetery setting and partly because it repeats one of my favorite melodies of the entire show. Trista's Christine really did seem to try to resist him at first, but by the time the gates of the crypt start to slowly swing open, she is completely hypnotized...until Raoul arrives. Again, Kyle impressed me here because I got the impression that he was damned well ready to face The Phantom right there in the cemetery and settle the matter right then and there, but that his need to keep Christine out of harm's way was more important.

Add Meg's Don Juan gypsy costume to the long list of things I want from the show. Not that I could wear one.

Terrific Point of No Return due in large part to the terrific chemistry between Trista and Hugh. As usual, I love the contrast between the black robe reminiscent of a monk's robe or a pleurant statue and the very earthy lyrics. And Trista is one sassy Aminta. Those defiant skirt swishes are purely awesome and a nice counterpoint to the ominous feeling that's building up. She's definitely playing Aminta and putting her all into the role, but she must not know that it's really The Phantom on the bench (there go Hugh's wandering hands again) because she's genuinely shocked and horrified to feel the mask under the hood. And there's a real struggle as he's pulling her to the center of the stage during the last verse.

The “Say you'll share with me” reprise was sad because it was so clearly desperate and hopeless. I'm pretty sure I started to cry about right there. Trista's Christine seemed to genuinely pity him just then and to feel almost guilty for accepting the ring before pulling off his mask. It felt like she was unmasked him because she couldn't find any other way out of the situation. She couldn't just stand there, she couldn't let him be shot by the police, and nor could she just accept his pleas.

Michelle was terrific as Carlotta when Piangi was found dead. She didn't take the hysterics into parody realm, but I felt very sorry that she'd lost him. It helps that I liked Piangi, too.

Once again, that garlic-burping couple next to me seemed very surprised by this turn of events and muttered about it during all of “Down Once More.” But, as the boat glided off into the wings, that was a wonderfully bitter and accusatory “Christine...why????” Poor Phantom...he really didn't understand how wrong he was yet.

Final Lair was very, very intense. Hugh's Phantom has gone totally to the edge and over it and then some. He's a very manipulative Phantom up to this point, but now it's all out of control. Trista is terrified, but hurt and angry. She's the one who has every right to feel betrayed by how she's been deceived for years. But, at the same time, you still see she has compassion for everything he's suffered since his mother first forced him to wear a mask...except at this point, he's not going to listen to anything reasonable she might say and there's no point trying. I know Hugh's always been pretty violent when he body-slams the Mirror Bride dummy, but he flipped it down so hard I felt sorry for the poor doll!

Again, I liked Kyle far more than I expected to. He put up a real struggle with the noose (as opposed to Tim Martin Gleason who always did his best to impersonate a mannequin at that point).

For some reason, even though I've seen so many Final Lairs and know the words and blocking pretty much by heart, this time it really felt like I was seeing it for the first time without knowing what comes next. Which was great because, when I first saw the show live in 2005, I'd known for years exactly how it ends...so it was very different to feel that suspense despite knowing.

The kiss always gets me. Even if I'm just listening to it on my iPod, that gorgeous reprise of the “Angel of Music” melody hits me. I was definitely in tears at this point. I always feel like the first kiss is out of desperation to save Raoul and the second is from complete compassion after seeing how the first kiss effects him so devastatingly – almost like he's completely numb with shock - and this particular really seemed to fit that view. And the aftermath is when the Phantom finally begins to understand how wrong he has been. Hugh did that awesome little scream – almost cat-like – when he severed the noose. He doesn't always do it, but I love it because it's just so raw. Also, I like the fact that Christine and Raoul didn't expect him to let them both go...how they're stunned that he isn't going to hold Christine to the bargain he forced on her. And The Phantom doesn't understand why they don't understand and he's like a frustrated child...almost one who is developmentally challenged on the finally drawn-out “Go...now...and...leave...me.” It was different from the last time I saw the show and very painful.

When Christine returned the ring, you could see that as much as she truly pitied him (and still had some love in her heart for him as her mentor and Angel of Music before the deception was revealed), you could also see she was still afraid of him. This was NOT a Christine who was going to seek him out for a passionate fling on the eve of her wedding.

When Hugh gathered up the wedding veil, he whispered “My angel.” He doesn't do it every time, but I always listen for it and it gets me. Every. Single. Time. Some people who sat in the first few rows later confirmed what I suspected from my vantage point...that Hugh had actual tears in his eyes at this point. Which made me glad I wasn't sitting any closer because I was seriously crying by then. As it is, it almost seemed like he was so emotional that he had to pull himself together for “You alone can make my song take flight...”

Awesome response from the audience...but no matter how much I'm crying at this point, when the Phantom goes to the throne, I do wait for a mishap. I blame all those stories like the time Jeff Keller couldn't vanish and handed the mask out from under the cape.

Last time I was at the show, it was the 23rd birthday matinee and, since I was going to the on-stage photo call, I had to leave my seat before Hugh covered himself with the cape to run all the way down from the rear mezz to the orchestra aisle. So I couldn't cry and cheer. I made up for it this time. cheers cheers cheers

One of the most enthusiastic curtain calls ever. The standing ovation started with Michelle...first time I've ever seen it start for Carlotta. Some people in the row immediately ahead of me didn't seem to realize that EVERYONE was starting to stand and started to hiss for the woman ahead of them to sit down. But by then, Kyle and Trista were coming out and the whole audience was on its feet.


Last edited by Paula74 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:44 am; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  operafantomet on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:17 pm

Oh, this almost made me feel I was there. More, more, more!!

And the comment about the chatty woman and your Soot kiss made me LOL. Laughing

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  SenorSwanky on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:38 pm

Good stuff. I've never understood why people laugh at "three human skulls."

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  phantom10906 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:46 pm

Its great to relive it through someone elses perspective. Very Happy Nice review Paula, which reminds me i saw you from afar, couldn't get close enough to say hi though.

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  Paula74 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:46 pm

phantom10906 wrote:Paula, which reminds me i saw you from afar, couldn't get close enough to say hi though.

I feel bad that I didn't get to meet or say hi to more people. I planned the trip so last minute that I didn't really keep track of who was going beyond a quick glance or two at Facebook. I did say hi to a few people before the show, then ran into someone from Italy I know from Facebook, and then Mme. Reyer. I did see a lot familiar people all day, but like you said, I couldn't get close enough to say hello. Plus, I kept looking at pretty much everyone and wondering if I knew them from one forum or another.

I don't know why people always laugh at the skulls, but I laugh at the fact that everyone is laughing.

The rest of Act I is in my original post. I'll start on Act II after dinner.

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  LadyCDaae on Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:06 pm

Oh, I wish I could have been there! It sounds like a great cast with some great interpretations of the characters. Looking forward to Act II!

~LCD

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  Paula74 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:46 am

Act II is posted above.

I'm having SO much fun reliving this.

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  LadyCDaae on Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:01 am

It sounds like an incredible performance--I actually got misty-eyed reading about it! You and everyone who attended are so lucky.

It felt like she was unmasked him because she couldn't find any other way out of the situation. She couldn't just stand there, she couldn't let him be shot by the police, and nor could she just accept his pleas.

I like this--my personal interpretation of Christine in that moment is that all her conflicting feelings come to a head and she just lashes out in desperation. Pity I probably won't get a chance to see Trista perform the role...

~LCD

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  operafantomet on Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:46 am

Paula74 wrote:Again, I liked Kyle far more than I expected to. He put up a real struggle with the noose (as opposed to Tim Martin Gleason who always did his best to impersonate a mannequin at that point).
Oh Tim... Laughing

Thank you for a great second act write up. Now I actually crave garlic...

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  Mme Reyer on Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:36 am

Great review, Paula! It was definitely worth the price of admission. I'm only sorry that we didn't have some kind of phans meeting afterwards!

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  Raphael on Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:49 am

Paula74 wrote:I was having trouble with my phone and almost didn't notice this skinny guy with a handsome black Labradoodle about two feet away. Wink
That is one of the most surreal things about NYC - you never know when you'll find yourself mere feet away from celebrity awesomeness Smile

Gorgeous “Music of The Night” from Hugh. Vocally very powerful and seductive, a little predatory (though definitely not as much as when I saw him with Sara Jean Ford last year).

Interesting! You're making me very eager to see his performance again.

I love, love, love that Trista doesn't just stand there like a pretty automaton during the song (nooooo...I'm not jabbing at LND...not all...nooooo). She's constantly reacting to this hypnotic, but still very crazy situation she's found herself in.
I really love how recent Christines are bringing more to the table than just great singing - that they're bringing a strong acting slant to the role as well. It really does help define the character more.

Loved her reaction to the wedding dress. There's shock because, really, you've just gone to this strange place full of candles with this Angel-of-Music-Who-Is-Also-The-Phantom-of-The-Opera and now he's showing you a wedding gown...but also she's touched by the gesture. There's a sweet little moment of, “It's beautiful! Is it really for me?” Then the Mirror Bride tips forward and the poor girl faints.
Very original! I don't think I've seen that approach taken before.

My only little disappointment is that John Keuthar as Don Attilio doesn't have that wicked long low note like Greg Rahming did. Otherwise, he's a very funny and animated Don Attilio.
Kuether doesn't do the long low note anymore? that's disappointing. He was practically famous for it when he was on the tour Sad

Terrific Point of No Return due in large part to the terrific chemistry between Trista and Hugh. As usual, I love the contrast between the black robe reminiscent of a monk's robe or a pleurant statue and the very earthy lyrics. And Trista is one sassy Aminta. Those defiant skirt swishes are purely awesome and a nice counterpoint to the ominous feeling that's building up. She's definitely playing Aminta and putting her all into the role, but she must not know that it's really The Phantom on the bench (there go Hugh's wandering hands again) because she's genuinely shocked and horrified to feel the mask under the hood. And there's a real struggle as he's pulling her to the center of the stage during the last verse.
Whoawhoawhoa, let's back this train up a second. What about the apple!porn? Give a fella a break here!

Final Lair was very, very intense.
Fascinating stuff. It sounds like it really was an electrified performance Smile

Even if I'm just listening to it on my iPod, that gorgeous reprise of the “Angel of Music” melody hits me.
That's probably my favorite part of the entire score - the way the Phantom's frenzied and bombastic PoNR that symbolizes how he's at the end of his rope gives way to silence and then Christine's AoM begins softly and slowly, building up to the kiss where it crescendos and musically purges all that darkness within him. It's like a perfect musical representation of forgiveness, compassion, and redemption.

When Hugh gathered up the wedding veil, he whispered “My angel.” He doesn't do it every time, but I always listen for it and it gets me. Every. Single. Time. Some people who sat in the first few rows later confirmed what I suspected from my vantage point...that Hugh had actual tears in his eyes at this point. Which made me glad I wasn't sitting any closer because I was seriously crying by then. As it is, it almost seemed like he was so emotional that he had to pull himself together for “You alone can make my song take flight...”
I love it when a Phantom is overwhelmed by emotion at the end. Bravo!

Fabulous review Paula! Thanks so much for sharing it Smile

R.

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

Post  SenorSwanky on Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:58 am

Raphael wrote:Kuether doesn't do the long low note anymore?
He didn't last summer either. I was disappointed because I loved seeing Rahming in that bit in 2005, though when he was back on tour in 2009, he didn't quite do it the same way either.

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Re: Phantom 10,000th on Broadway (a.k.a. I Can't Get Masquerade Out of My Head Now)

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