US Tour - Washington D.C. August 9, 2016

View previous topic View next topic Go down

US Tour - Washington D.C. August 9, 2016

Post  Phantour on Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:51 pm

Phantom - Chris Mann
Christine - Katelyn Davis (u/s)
Raoul - Eric Ruiz (u/s)
Carlotta - Jacqueline Fontaine
Monsieur Firmin - David Benoit
Monsieur Andre - Price Waldman
Madame Giry - Anne Kanengeiser
Piangi - Phumzile Sojola
Meg Giry - Morgan Cowling

Prologue/Auction:

The scenic differences from the original production are the mist printed scrim, more auction items, and the monkey music box in a triangle. Raoul has no nurse and he's easily able to get up from his regular chair. Perhaps they wanted him more mobile since he has a memory sequence during the overture. Although I still got excited during the overture, it didn't have the same impact as the chandelier rising from the stage and the angel/demon proscenium being revealed. However, I did find it interesting having actors in their Hannibal costumes surround Raoul as if he's going back in time.

Hannibal:

Jacqueline Fontaine has a bit more subdue performance of Carlotta. Although she has her moments of being a diva, forcing ballet girls out of her desired spots on stage, she doesn't go crazy with her speech. There's even a time where she acts demanding right before she sings, "Think of Me," and she stops herself, looks at the managers and laugh as if that didn't just happen. I miss the elephant prop, but they did have a cardboard one at the very end. Not having Christine run on stage makes it very hard to determine who she is in the ensemble until she's suggested by Meg to sing "Think of Me".

Think of Me:

Katelyn Davis has a very clear, youthful tone to her voice. Her younger age helped her performance of Christine. I found it interesting to have the slave girls behind Christine half way through the song to give her the scarf. There seemed to be more action for Christine on stage for this number. This was the first time really hearing Eric Ruiz sing as Raoul and he had a strong, nice sounding voice.

Angel of Music:

This is now backstage, not in the dressing room at first, and Meg has a bathrobe on. They then both go in an ensemble dressing room, making more sense than Christine having a private one when this is her first big performance. Both Meg and Christine change, Meg back in her tutu for rehearsal. Morgan Cowling as Meg seemed a bit feisty when Madame Giry came in, but definitely ran quickly when she walked by her.

Little Lotte/The Mirror:

This is the only time I seemed to see the managers acting drunk. I thought I read that the managers play up drinking throughout the revived show. However, I may be thinking of the anniversary concert DVD. Raoul seems to walk in on Christine trying to change and she is not to happy with his appearance. However, when he jogs her memory, all is well and she is given a single rose. Raoul sits in his own chair at the side of the dressing table, and then gets up to help Christine to remove her hair from her dressing gown. I thought this was a sweet touch. Chris Mann had a powerful voice. I could pick up on the sound design and how they made the Phantom's voice more booming. The Phantom pushes the mirror glass open like a door, and the effects loses the magical element from the original production.

The Title Song:

Here we see the revolving stage at work as it turns around to show backstage and the staircase down to the lair. However, the scene change is slow so we're forced to see Raoul stumble around the dressing room a bit too long to try to figure out what happened to Christine. I did like the staircase with stairs popping out one by one, however when it came to the lake, the magical image was gone from the original production. This lair is more realistic, more cluttered, and not my cup of tea. We miss the suaveness of the Phantom hair slick and he acts more as a teacher trying to push Christine to sing notes she couldn't have imagined.

The Music of the Night:

A lot more choreography and it seems a bit cluttered. I was so focused on the changes, I couldn't really pay attention to Chris Mann's performance as the Phantom. When I first saw a clip of the blindfold, I cringed. However, in person, I could see it more as he's trying to make her use her sense of hearing to fully appreciate the music. Despite what they may have tried to perceive, I prefer it she just had her eyes shut. Probably the most clumsy moment was when Christine falls to the floor. To have her in this position and lack of touching during "Touch me, trust me, " made me miss the signature pose very much! I also wasn't a fan of the Phantom putting her to bed towards the end. He's singing this song about his desires for her and then it's like, well I'm wrapping up so off to bed, Christine!

The Next Morning:

In the design aspect, the lighting and sound design were my favorite. However, I did not like the choice of keeping the organ lights on in this scene transition. It took away from trying to separate the time gap. The "unmasking" is poorly done and I'm not a fan of the director's choice. The Phantom takes off his mask and puts ointment on his face as Christine comes to his side and sees him. The fact that loud organ playing or the monkey acting as an alarm clock is probably not your best time to remove your mask. Of course Christine is going to wake up and by not allowing her to take the action of removing the mask, his anger is too much. And we witness the Phantom pulling her hair, violent acting choices I'm sure they took from Ramin's concert interpretation. However, after all this violence, he does not pull Christine's hand to get her to return back to the Opera House. I sort of liked the choice of allowing Christine to decide.

Magical Lasso:

Buquet is younger in this production, but definitely a creeper always doting on the ballet girls. The Phantom is no where in this scene so he does not hear Buquet speaking about him. Like the movie, this makes the Phantom's murder of Buquet even more illogical.

Notes/Prima Donna:

Now I like that the manager's scene opens up in the revolving main set piece. However, I did not like that the flies (space above the stage) is right above the office. It made the office seem very small. Also, I didn't find it necessary to show the Phantom as he's reading off his note. Once again, it takes a away the mystery of the character, plus he does not do this in Notes II. Has it ever been explained why Carlotta's costumes are flip flopped in this production? Her red dress almost blended too well with the wallpaper. Prima Donna has always been a hard scene to follow with everyone singing about their own dilemmas. But when you add a scene and costume change, then your focus is completely on Carlotta, and you miss all the other stories going on.

Il Muto:

I liked the scenery for this scene, although I did miss the bed. The ensemble played up the comedy in this scene and it was quite amusing. Since the Phantom cannot walk above, I did like the shadow effects. When the ballet is being introduced, I loved Don Attilio getting stuck on stage and taking the moment to bow. Act III's ballet was ruined due to the split scenery. The ballet dancers are performing while we see Bouquet gawking at them and a stagehand, with his back to us, creats a lasso. Behold it is the Phantom and just like the movie, we see the literal act and the mystery is taken away from the character. They used shadows before, why couldn't they do it again?

Rooftop/All I Ask of You:

Whether it is the new direction or Katelyn Davis' interpretation, but Christine is more feisty with Raoul. She will make him listen and she will not be considered a fool for what she has actually seen. One minor singing critique of Ms. Davis was I felt her 'soar' note could have had more support under it. I'm not sure if I like the snow effect in this scene as it randomly stops and really has no purpose besides accenting "one year later" for Act II. As noted in other reviews, Christine stands on the ledge like she's thinking of suicide. However, Katelyn made her Christine almost take in the moment, close her eyes, and use her other senses like Music of the Night. To me, it felt like more like the Phantom's control over her than her thinking life's too rough and it may be time to end it. Having her fall to ground after this was not too much of an issue for me. However, having Raoul not come to her and stand somewhat far behind her as he began the song bothered me. I just felt the instinct for Raoul, especially seeing what she was doing, would be to rush to her side to support her. This whole song is about comforting her. To make her feel safe and loved. With the new blocking, that aspect is lost. The best part of this scene was after AIAOY was done and both Raoul and Christine let their guard down and acted giddy. When Chris Mann reprised this song, I was thinking, I'm not sure how I feel about his performance yet. He has a wonderful voice, but his acting so far had left something to be desired. It doesn't help my attention is usually on Christine, but the last time I saw the show, John Cudia at the Phantom had my complete attention. He was so mesmerizing. The chandelier fall was alright, but the one spark from the Phantom's cane to make it fall down seemed weak. Plus we don't hear the drawn out, "Gooooo" or "Fallll"

Masquerade:

I was expecting that I would, but I really despised the scenery change. The grand staircase, the beautiful colorful costumes, that's a great way to start Act II! The mirrors did not make the space seem bigger and the choreography as a condensed group made the space achieve the opposite affect. I've always taken the end of Act I as the unofficial engagement of Raoul and Christine. So to have a year gap now, it seems a bit too long to keep their engagement a secret. And a bit too late for her to just now propose the option. But perhaps their official engagement didn't happen until months after Act I. I miss the half man/half woman scaring Christine and the monkey stealing her mask. Signature characters for ensemble members to be featured are now longer an option. The Phantom's appearance was weak. Once again, the mystery is gone. The door just opens. He is not above everyone, he doesn't have power over them. It really made me realize how he was placed higher on stage in the original production to add to his mystery and power. And we won't mention the golden half mask.

Backstage:

I really enjoyed the lighting and shadow effects done in the scene. An update to a scene where I feel it helps enhance the story. Not make it look more cheap (aka projected draped instead of the real thing).

Notes II:

I really liked the addition of Christine slapping Raoul when she says she'll go mad. However, it wasn't really executed well at this performance so it looked quite fake. It was interesting to see Christine move around to different characters in Twister Every Way and they all shrugged her off like she was on her own. I really liked the addition of Raoul going after her and her saying, "Raoul you said you would protect me. Please leave me alone!" Unfortunately, it doesn't help us see why she decided to do the rehearsal anyway.

Don Juan Rehearsal:

There was a real interesting moment when Carlotta and Christine were talking to each other. I was a bit curious what the characters were saying to one another. When the piano starts to play, everyone seemed in a trance and seemed to look at Christine as she was the cause of all this mess. Once again, she was given a cold shoulder, which really helps her in the next scene and feeling lost.

Wishing:

Katelyn Davis gave a wonderful performance. There was a beautiful stage image of her kneeling by her father's grave and caressing it. I thought the Phantom was going to still come behind some grave. Nope, he just walks on stage. Once again, the fact he is on the same level of Christine and Raoul just makes him lack power. But of course it's needed to the fight with Raoul! I adored the trio and Chris Mann's harmonies were insane! But this really adds to, hey Raoul, the Phantom's right here, what are you going to do? I miss the Phantom's staff. You can't make him mysterious now with fire coming out his hands.

Before the Premiere:

Only thing I wanted to add was I liked the shadow effect in box 5.

Don Juan/Point of No Return:

The scenery didn't bother me in this scene. The choreography is a bit different in this number, especially with Christine's part and dancing on the table. However, I didn't think the changes ruined the scene. No dancers in the background! One change I question though is when does Christine realize it is the Phantom? There's never a moment when she feels his mask underneath. She just takes off his hood at the end almost as if she knew all along. I did like the addition of the Phantom kneeling to Christine when he proposes to her. Raoul does not do this in All I Ask of You so it's interesting to see the Phantom being the more formal one. I liked that Christine ran off stage because it made more sense of her removing the mask and thinking she could get away with it. However, I assume he caught up with her at some point.

Down Once More/Final Lair:

Although I liked the staircase in the title song, here you miss Raoul jumping into the lake. Now he goes down the stairs, looks around, and heads off stage. Back to the cluttered lair and NO throne. Without it we have the Phantom holding Christine hostage and choking her when Raoul enters. And by allowing Raoul to enter the lair so easy, it makes you wonder why he doesn't take the Phantom down? But I'm guessing it's because the Phantom has Christine in his grips Raoul doesn't want to risk anything. I enjoyed Christine ripping up the Phantom's music almost has a slap in the face to him. What was interesting is they have the Phantom be quite aggressive with Christine throughout this scene, but a little before she kisses him, he had his hands up like hes trying to shield himself from Christine. Now you're afraid of her? The kiss was still beautiful and the Phantom went right on his knees and Christine did the same. It is quite tragic that in this version, the Phantom never gets to say goodbye to Christine. It also made me think, when did he actually give her the ring? I'm assuming it was still in Point of No Return but I don't remember the interaction. The last magical effect still leaves the audience how does the Phantom disappear? Now he puts the cape around him and Meg holds it for a bit, then rips it off and the Phantom is not there.

Overall thoughts? I still enjoy seeing this musical because of the songs and the story. However, it did make me want to see the original again and also see another revival of this in the future, but this time done a bit better. Chris Mann has a wonderful voice, but he could do a lot more with the character. Katelyn Davis was a delight as Christine and I'm curious how she will evolve the characters. It makes me wish she had strong actors to perform opposite. Eric Ruiz was attractive and had a wonderful voice, but did nothing special with Raoul. However, I would be curious to see what he does with his Phantom. I enjoyed Jacqueline Fontaine as Carlotta, but I wouldn't say she was my favorite actress in the role. Unfortunately I felt most of the supporting characters could have done a bit more to put their stamp on their characters.

Phantour

Posts : 27
Join date : 2010-02-09
Age : 32
Location : Maryland, USA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum