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The Broadway production + Original US Replica tour

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Post  justin-from-barbados Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:28 am

Im hopeing they interview the set designer, want to hear his justifications for doing what he did (lawrence I think it was sort of tried to justify the masquerade costume changes)

I also want to see if they have made any set changes since the UK tour, so far all I h ave seen is a bit more 'stuff' added to the chandelier (which still is tiny and underwhelming and just the wrong shade of gold)
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Post  Brandon1351 Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:48 pm

The Phantom on Tour Facebook page has made some interesting comments regarding the U.S. Tour, which opens in a little over one week. Most have been in response to people commenting on the pictures of the chandelier arriving in Providence.

This one stood out to me the most,
It's been reworked since the UK tour and and you will love this spectacular version, in fact you will FALL in love with the new staging and effects. Lots to consider when dropping a 1 ton chandelier from the roof of a 100 year old venue! #dontlookup
Sounds like they're alluding to the chandelier falling in larger venues?

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Post  justin-from-barbados Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:55 pm

i have my doubts, but chances are it will just drop straight down and stop short, I doubt they will have the rigging for it to hit the stage like the original, but we'll see
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Post  StrangerThanUDreamt Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:03 am

Talked to a few people who have seen the new tour and the good news is

We have a drop. The chandelier crashes at whats being called 'Vegas speed' and stops about 5 feet above the audience heads before shooting fake glass. Color me impressed. One thing I loved about Vegas was that the chandelier was fully rounded (not the oval shape that the Broadway/London design is) and that it plummeted from the middle of the theater straight down into the audience (or as far as laws allow) both of which his new chandelier sports. Still not crazy about the design, but they have since added some more too it so it looks more period accurate

The pillowcase costumes are gone from Il Muto and the original (or I'm being told, very close to the original) costumes have been restored to that scene

On the downside..

Red Death is still pretty much Napoleon with a ponytail wig
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Post  LadyCDaae Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:23 pm

Can't have everything, I guess. Still, it's nice to know that a few improvements have been made, at least.

The DCPA recently did an informal poll on Facebook asking what touring productions people wanted to see for the 14-15 season. There were a lot of responses of "Please bring Phantom back; it's been years!" I wondered how many people knew this tour was different from the old one--or knew that the old one was closed, for that matter.

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Post  robhawkins Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:56 pm

I'm going tomorrow night, 10th row, so expect a detailed review by the end of the week.

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Post  CrimsonAvenger Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:01 am

Any ideas on why they decide to skip the Raleigh/Durham area? We're the second largest theater area in the country so one would think they'd come here. DPAC hosted the original tour but I don't know if any other theaters are large enough for the tour. Heck it's the fourth most popular theater in the country. No idea why they'd skip over us. I'd love to go but the closet place is Greenville, SC and that's 250 miles from me.
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Post  ravnquest1 Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:56 am

CrimsonAvenger wrote:Any ideas on why they decide to skip the Raleigh/Durham area? We're the second largest theater area in the country so one would think they'd come here. DPAC hosted the original tour but I don't know if any other theaters are large enough for the tour. Heck it's the fourth most popular theater in the country. No idea why they'd skip over us. I'd love to go but the closet place is Greenville, SC and that's 250 miles from me.
As a traveling theater professional, I'm pretty sure LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and DC would be considered "larger" than Raleigh/Durham, but none of that really matters anway.

To actually answer your question, I don't think you were skipped. That's not how it works. Your local venue(s) or "presenter(s)" as they are known in the business, book the tours and shows they want. Sometimes they want a show but can't fit it in to what they already have programmed- the mega-hit shows like "Book of Mormon", "Wicked" etc book years in advance so each city can secure the spots they want, some cities get first crack over others.

If Raleigh or Durham couldn't book it with a slot that Phantom still had available, they have to wait. Also, for every market (no matter how large)- money factors in. If they've booked "Mormon" they might not be able to afford Phantom in the same season. And a season operating at a loss hurts future seasons/bookings.

Each show has a minimum guarantee- the money the local presenter pays, each week, for the tour to show up and do 8 shows. This figure ranges from about $150,000 at the extreme low end to hundreds of thousands- each week. This is what allows the tour producers to pay the actors, musicians and crew- and pay the bills of producing the show (and usually some profit as well).

Each presenter has a budget for the year, which is why you often see 1 or 2 big shows and a bunch of smaller, cheaper fillers. It's how it works...the profit from the big hits often covers losses for the smaller shows.

Phantom is also picking up dates and cities that originally had booked the 3rd national company, so that factors in as well. The tour has 2 or 3 years of bookings already, and I've heard it's actually more like 5 years. So relax, unless it's some huge failure and closes early (extremely unlikely) it's coming your way at some point.

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Post  Scorp Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:25 pm

I wish they'd put a sock in it -- to use a British idiom -- with the whole "this is darker", "this is more gritty" BS in the publicity for the tour. What does that even mean? The whole "darker take" has been so overused when promoting revivals that -- at least here -- it comes across as a completely vapid phrase.

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Post  LadyCDaae Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:11 am

Scorp wrote:I wish they'd put a sock in it -- to use a British idiom -- with the whole "this is darker", "this is more gritty" BS in the publicity for the tour. What does that even mean? The whole "darker take" has been so overused when promoting revivals that -- at least here -- it comes across as a completely vapid phrase.
Yeah, I mean I know they have to justify their vision and everything, but it ends up coming off as very dismissive and I find that a big turn-off. "Oh, we're so much more darker and realistic than that silly thing that's had record-breaking runs all over the world!" I'd much rather they say something like, "We're not trying to fix what isn't broken, we're just looking at the story in a different way and we hope people like it as much as they have the original."

~LCD

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Post  robhawkins Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:37 am

Just got back from the show tonight. Words fail me. Mostly everyone in it is fine and I didn't mind the redesigned sets in most cases. But they've retained that god awful MOTN blocking from the tour, Christine as a pole dancer from PONR and the lack of a final moment between the Phantom and Christine.

And Mark Campbell as the Phantom. I was missing Gerard Butler by the end of it. I'm dead serious. He's on key that is legit the ONLY nice thing I can say about his performance.

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Post  robhawkins Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:10 pm

Just saw the revival last night. I went into it knowing about the UK tour in detail but was hoping they'd touch some things up and it would not be exactly like the UK tour at the end. I got my wish and I wish I hadn't.

The auctioneer is rather bland, lacking any sense of mystery or menace. I do agree Raoul makes far more sense in regards to the timeline. The chandelier is already in the air, but it does rise considerably after that. It's decent looking and I understand why it's smaller so I can live with it.

Hannibal rehearsal is fine, Reyer and Giry actually do some of their bits from the first row and being in tenth row right, I got to see them walk past me which threw me for a moment. The actor playing Piangi is extremely funny at sending his role up. Carlotta is okay, but lacks the larger than life diva qualities literally and emotionally. Neither manager is very good, they show up, hit the notes, remember their lines but there's very little memorable about what they do.

Julia is mostly fine as Christine but she's clearly scared during the journey to the lair (not as a character, her personally) as there are moments she forgot to lip sync being so concerned with the staircase.

No thoughts either way on Raoul. He's a bit of a jerk, perhaps more so than usual. I did expect a bit more from Mark's son.

AOM still occurs in the ballet corps dressing room, with the massive logic holes that opens up. Really they try to solve one thing that doesn't make sense (why does Christine always have her own dressing room) and create MANY more problems. Just say she has no home of her own and lives in the theater and Giry gave her an old dressing room, problem solved, but now we have to believe the Phantom somehow clears out the entire dressing room each time he has a lesson for her and no one knows about their connection. Words fails me.

The journey to the lair was interesting, I do like the staircase trick. I thought the rotating set was nice at first but after 2 hours was sort of sick of it. If that thing ever has a problem the entire show is ruined for the night though. The Phantom's lair was what it was in the UK tour.

He puts the blindfold on fairly early in MOTN and removes it on "belong to me". She spends the rest of the song either on the floor, or picked up in his arms and brought to bed. MOTN is just awful, it's listliss, the dialogue doesn't connect to the blocking in any way, and they've taken out so many memorable moments and replaced them with risible stuff at best.

As for Mark Campbell as the Phantom..........here's the thing. The original tour was JOJ, one of the greatest Phantoms of all time and with such a gentle voice and personality naturally that the changes just about worked. Campbell is.........well to be honest he's awful. I've seen every non us US NYC and tour Phantom since Mark Jacoby and this guy is the worst. By a mile. I actually prefer Gerard Butler's acting to his. The Phantom is a one note vicious homicidal controlling psycho you feel zero sympathy for throughout.

Despite this new blocking STYDI is basically the same, although Christine never unmasks him. He just takes it off before she wakes up. Yeah.

Notes and Prima Donna are fine. The problem here isn't the other stuff, but they messed up the Phantom's part big time. It Muto was really good I have to say. AIAOY was decent, but with such an unlikable Phantom and a jerkier than usual Raoul I am not sure what Christine should choose.

Whoever blocked Masquerade messed up. A friend of mine was there far left and I was far right and in both cases the crowd never moved so that when the Phantom (cheaper version of the movie costume) came out, no one could see him for his entire bit. I'm an amateur director and I know you have to go into an audience and check these things.

Christine still slaps Raoul. Since it happens before he reveals his plan, it makes zero sense and just got a chuckle.

WYWSHA was really good I will give Julie credit for that. It's Mark's best scene as well, he's not great, but he's acceptable in it. The fire effects are done better than in NYC and at least there was no swordfight.

Christine may as well have gotten a pole during PONR. The Phantom just sits and watches while she struts around and seduces him, that scene's magic is gone. They really never touch during the scene in the same way or connect.

Final Lair, well he was brutal angry and vengeful. But that's him throughout the whole show so it's not big shock. Christine comes back, they never meet and they reuse the old Broadway Dracula trick at the end.

I've seen Phantom live 42 times now. In Korea, Singapore, London, Toronto, NYC and many US cities. I have NEVER not been a mass of tears at the end, usually needing a few minutes to calm down. This one, nothing. Not a single tear. Just arms folded across in frustration. I didn't even stay for the curtain call, something I would never dream of doing as it's so disrespectful to the artists but this didn't deserve it.

And I went in wanting to love it, hoping they would smooth over a few things. I think with JOJ I would have liked it. The audience seemed to like it though. But Mark Campbell...come back Paul Stanley all is forgiven!

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Post  MasqPhan Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:38 am

Interesting to get to hear your review of the new tour. I had hoped that the blocking for MOTN would have been different than the UK Tour. I found it rather distracting.

Not liking what I hear about Point of No Return either.

I'm not against change but I am when it kills the mood of the scene.

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Post  lonely nightingale Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:20 am

robhawkins wrote:
AOM still occurs in the ballet corps dressing room, with the massive logic holes that opens up. Really they try to solve one thing that doesn't make sense (why does Christine always have her own dressing room) and create MANY more problems. Just say she has no home of her own and lives in the theater and Giry gave her an old dressing room, problem solved, but now we have to believe the Phantom somehow clears out the entire dressing room each time he has a lesson for her and no one knows about their connection. Words fails me.
As I heard somewhere, originally, Sarah Brightman wanted Christine to start off as a principle dancer along with Meg.  If that's so, it would make sense for her to have her own dressing room.

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Post  AlwaysChristine Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:14 am

@robhawkins:
"He puts the blindfold on fairly early in MOTN and removes it on "belong to me". She spends the rest of the song either on the floor, or picked up in his arms and brought to bed. MOTN is just awful, it's listliss, the dialogue doesn't connect to the blocking in any way, and they've taken out so many memorable moments and replaced them with risible stuff at best. "

I´ve seen the UK Tour 5 times but it seems they have changed something more now. She is on the floor? Can you describe it more please! It seems they have changed it again.
For the Final Lair  - in the UK Tour  - it was with Earl Carpenter where the end was different. With JOJ Christine and Phantom met, but not with Earl.
The last thing I remember about MOTN in UK with Earl was, he begun as a singing lesson and it changed. Blindfold and dancing, very sensual. She had the blindfold really long and before he lied her on the bed he removed it.
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Post  robhawkins Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:13 pm

On "turn your face away" she's blindfolded and spends most of the song in that condition being led around the set. On "only then can you belong to me" he takes it off and she sinks to the floor seated where she remains for the start of "floating falling". Somewhere around "let the dream begin" he picks her up to the bed and carries her there.

It's the worst scene in the show, with Final Lair coming a close second.

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Post  AlwaysChristine Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:21 pm

robhawkins wrote:On "turn your face away" she's blindfolded and spends most of the song in that condition being led around the set.   On "only then can you belong to me" he takes it off and she sinks to the floor seated where she remains for the start of "floating falling".   Somewhere around "let the dream begin" he picks her up to the bed and carries her there.  

It's the worst scene in the show, with Final Lair coming a close second.
Sounds a little confusing. I try to remember how it was before Earl Carpenter came into the show.
I know before the Music of the Night was different but his way was great.
I remember as well the first time I saw the UK Tour was with JOJ and Katie Hall.
Both played MOTN so strange, with Olivia it was different and better but with Earl it made sense because he changed in a right way.
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Post  robhawkins Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:59 pm

I've seen a video of Earl and yes he made this work. This definitely isn't his version of the scene.

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Post  LadyCDaae Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:23 pm

...Why would he be telling her to close her eyes if she has a blindfold on? Mad 

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Post  robhawkins Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:14 am

It's really harsh fabric and he's scared she'll get a rash.

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Post  Scorp Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:56 pm

robhawkins wrote:Just saw the revival last night. I went into it knowing about the UK tour in detail but was hoping they'd touch some things up and it would not be exactly like the UK tour at the end. I got my wish and I wish I hadn't.

The auctioneer is rather bland, lacking any sense of mystery or menace. I do agree Raoul makes far more sense in regards to the timeline. The chandelier is already in the air, but it does rise considerably after that. It's decent looking and I understand why it's smaller so I can live with it.

Hannibal rehearsal is fine, Reyer and Giry actually do some of their bits from the first row and being in tenth row right, I got to see them walk past me which threw me for a moment. The actor playing Piangi is extremely funny at sending his role up. Carlotta is okay, but lacks the larger than life diva qualities literally and emotionally. Neither manager is very good, they show up, hit the notes, remember their lines but there's very little memorable about what they do.

Julia is mostly fine as Christine but she's clearly scared during the journey to the lair (not as a character, her personally) as there are moments she forgot to lip sync being so concerned with the staircase.

No thoughts either way on Raoul. He's a bit of a jerk, perhaps more so than usual. I did expect a bit more from Mark's son.

AOM still occurs in the ballet corps dressing room, with the massive logic holes that opens up. Really they try to solve one thing that doesn't make sense (why does Christine always have her own dressing room) and create MANY more problems. Just say she has no home of her own and lives in the theater and Giry gave her an old dressing room, problem solved, but now we have to believe the Phantom somehow clears out the entire dressing room each time he has a lesson for her and no one knows about their connection. Words fails me.

The journey to the lair was interesting, I do like the staircase trick. I thought the rotating set was nice at first but after 2 hours was sort of sick of it. If that thing ever has a problem the entire show is ruined for the night though. The Phantom's lair was what it was in the UK tour.

He puts the blindfold on fairly early in MOTN and removes it on "belong to me". She spends the rest of the song either on the floor, or picked up in his arms and brought to bed. MOTN is just awful, it's listliss, the dialogue doesn't connect to the blocking in any way, and they've taken out so many memorable moments and replaced them with risible stuff at best.

As for Mark Campbell as the Phantom..........here's the thing. The original tour was JOJ, one of the greatest Phantoms of all time and with such a gentle voice and personality naturally that the changes just about worked. Campbell is.........well to be honest he's awful. I've seen every non us US NYC and tour Phantom since Mark Jacoby and this guy is the worst. By a mile. I actually prefer Gerard Butler's acting to his. The Phantom is a one note vicious homicidal controlling psycho you feel zero sympathy for throughout.

Despite this new blocking STYDI is basically the same, although Christine never unmasks him. He just takes it off before she wakes up. Yeah.

Notes and Prima Donna are fine. The problem here isn't the other stuff, but they messed up the Phantom's part big time. It Muto was really good I have to say. AIAOY was decent, but with such an unlikable Phantom and a jerkier than usual Raoul I am not sure what Christine should choose.

Whoever blocked Masquerade messed up. A friend of mine was there far left and I was far right and in both cases the crowd never moved so that when the Phantom (cheaper version of the movie costume) came out, no one could see him for his entire bit. I'm an amateur director and I know you have to go into an audience and check these things.

Christine still slaps Raoul. Since it happens before he reveals his plan, it makes zero sense and just got a chuckle.

WYWSHA was really good I will give Julie credit for that. It's Mark's best scene as well, he's not great, but he's acceptable in it. The fire effects are done better than in NYC and at least there was no swordfight.

Christine may as well have gotten a pole during PONR. The Phantom just sits and watches while she struts around and seduces him, that scene's magic is gone. They really never touch during the scene in the same way or connect.

Final Lair, well he was brutal angry and vengeful. But that's him throughout the whole show so it's not big shock. Christine comes back, they never meet and they reuse the old Broadway Dracula trick at the end.

I've seen Phantom live 42 times now. In Korea, Singapore, London, Toronto, NYC and many US cities. I have NEVER not been a mass of tears at the end, usually needing a few minutes to calm down. This one, nothing. Not a single tear. Just arms folded across in frustration. I didn't even stay for the curtain call, something I would never dream of doing as it's so disrespectful to the artists but this didn't deserve it.

And I went in wanting to love it, hoping they would smooth over a few things. I think with JOJ I would have liked it. The audience seemed to like it though. But Mark Campbell...come back Paul Stanley all is forgiven!
And me 43 as of this week! Your comment on this being the one time you weren't enthralled exactly matches the reaction by another poster here who, despite being a big Cameron Mackintosh fan, said that the UK tour of this production failed to move him on any level.

All in all, your description sounds very similar to my thoughts I posted here. It sounds like the only thing they've worked on since the UK tour is the bloody chandelier...and even that isn't that great. Rolling Eyes

When it's a choice between no Phantom, and a substandard Phantom, I'm thinking I'd rather have the former. At least then it limits the damage to the perception and reputation of the show and the brand.

Part of me wonders how much of the crappy direction is down to Sir Cameron himself rather than Laurence Connor. Cameron is known to be a 'meddling' producer -- even by his own admission -- but especially so in all his recent productions where he hires young, inexperienced "directors" who are too much in awe of him and are subservient to his demands and 'recommendations' (read: orders). This was the case on The Witches of Eastwick in London, and most recently Cameron's flop production of Barnum.

That means neither Cameron nor Andrew have any clue as to what is good about Phantom. Seriously, is everything that's so good about this show down to everyone else (especially Hal and Maria)?!

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Post  Paula74 Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:27 pm

I just this posted about the tour (on the Broadway Facebook page):

I never thought in a million years that I would walk out on the Phantom. Last night in Providence RI PPAC I attend the "NEW" production of the Phantom. It was horrible. Many people walked out. Why the hell would you change such a perfect show. I felt bad for the actors because it wasn't there fault.
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Post  robhawkins Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:10 pm

The actor playing Piangi is great, he deserves a shot on Broadway in the role.

As for it not being the actors fault, well if, and that's a huge if, the interviews about Mark Campbell being given carte blanche to create a new character are correct, a lot of this IS his fault. I rewatched Earl's MOTN on the tour and it's night and day. And Earl isn't one of my favorite Phantoms by a long shot, though I do like him.

As for Hal and Maria, I'd add Gillian, Andrew and Michael Crawford to the list of people who should be given a lot of credit for things working and Andrew, Cameron, Charles and Sarah as along for the ride.

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Post  Scorp Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:11 pm

Paula74 wrote:I just this posted about the tour (on the Broadway Facebook page):

I never thought in a million years that I would walk out on the Phantom. Last night in Providence RI PPAC I attend the "NEW" production of the Phantom. It was horrible. Many people walked out. Why the hell would you change such a perfect show. I felt bad for the actors because it wasn't there fault.
Whoa, walked out?! At what point?

Makes a mockery of Cameron's claim that's been inserted into the London programme for the original that audiences around the world are embracing this version as much as the original...Rolling Eyes

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Post  LadyCDaae Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:57 pm

Tour review from BroadwayWorld's regional page. It's...well, it's pretty much what we've been saying here.

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Post  Scorp Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:45 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:Tour review from BroadwayWorld's regional page.  It's...well, it's pretty much what we've been saying here.

~LCD

This review reads like a copy of my own! Glad to see BWW not pandering to the powers-that-be for a change.

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Post  justin-from-barbados Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:13 pm

A few new pics from the tour on their official site. I must say the masquerade pic does look really nice and I cant help think how much better it would look with the original costumes there amond all those mirrors.

I still can't get a good understanding of the dressing room, there doesn;t seem to be any full pics of that scene and the little I;ve seen online the quality of the vids are so bad I cant make out much.

Hannibal just looks dreadful, I've seen better backdrops created for high school versions, and Piangi in a charriot? it just makes no sence, if he is in a charriot then there HAS to be horses. And his 'army' have bows and arrows, is that Historically accurate (I am genuinely asking because I dont know, just seems a bit absurd)

Not sure what to say about the Managers scene, I do like the intense red in the wallpaper but thats about it. How are those costumes related to the original ones? Maybe they are Maria's designs but just for another show like Aspects of Love or something.
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Post  justin-from-barbados Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:16 pm

Paula74 wrote:I just this posted about the tour (on the Broadway Facebook page):

I never thought in a million years that I would walk out on the Phantom. Last night in Providence RI PPAC I attend the "NEW" production of the Phantom. It was horrible. Many people walked out. Why the hell would you change such a perfect show. I felt bad for the actors because it wasn't there fault.

It does seem obvious now that the once touted "cost cutting measures" in this new version it just another way of saying that they no longer want to pay Bjornson, Lyne or Prince anymore royalties. There is no way this show can me that much more Physically cheaper to produce than the old tour.
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Post  Scorp Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:15 pm

justin-from-barbados wrote:
Paula74 wrote:I just this posted about the tour (on the Broadway Facebook page):

I never thought in a million years that I would walk out on the Phantom. Last night in Providence RI PPAC I attend the "NEW" production of the Phantom. It was horrible. Many people walked out. Why the hell would you change such a perfect show. I felt bad for the actors because it wasn't there fault.

It does seem obvious now that the once touted "cost cutting measures" in this new version it just another way of saying that they no longer want to pay Bjornson, Lyne or Prince anymore royalties. There is no way this show can me that much more Physically cheaper to produce than the old tour.

I reckon Prince got a handsome sum to pay him off as this tour was "by agreement with Hal Prince", whereas with Mis Cameron just ignored Nunn completely (and the result was a brutal falling out).

Hannibal just looks dreadful, I've seen better backdrops created for high school versions, and Piangi in a charriot? it just makes no sence, if he is in a charriot then there HAS to be horses. And his 'army' have bows and arrows, is that Historically accurate (I am genuinely asking because I dont know, just seems a bit absurd)

The worst bit I recall is these awful plastic swords that Piangi and someone else suddenly start wielding. They look like they've come from a kids toyshop...well, they probably have. But it made what should be a Paris Opera production look like a village hall pantomime.

It's annoying how few of the critics reviewing this show - both in the UK and in the US - are familiar with the original, which is kind of surprising given you'd think critics getting paid to write about theatre would actually bother to see the most successful theatrical production in history. (That said, I live with a theatre producer and he asked me recently if Sondheim was dead! Oh dear... Rolling Eyes). If they bothered, they might realise what they're writing is total crap when they praise this production. There seems to be a mismatch with what some of the regional critics are saying and the audience reaction, which tends to be disappointment from what I've seen (that is, if they already know the piece and have seen at least other big shows before).

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Post  LadyCDaae Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:42 pm

Hmmmm....

Mark Campbell Exits PHANTOM National Tour for 'Personal Reasons;' Cooper Grodin Assumes Title Role

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