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PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala

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Post  Raphael Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:10 am

Did someone order a long-winded review?

PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala

On January 26th 2013, The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 25th Anniversary on Broadway. So on that last weekend in January, phans from around the country converged on the Big Apple (or the Big Ice Cube, considering the temperatures that time of year) to celebrate our favorite musical.

Leaving the hotel at 6pm, I missed out on all the red carpet action, but the lobby was packed with people mingling – regular folk and celebrities alike (longtime Carlotta Kim Stengel as well as Las Vegas’ Brianne Kelly Morgan were among the attendees) – and everyone was glammed up for the big anniversary performance. My celebrity-watching was cut short when the lights flickered, alerting us to get to our seats. And as it turned out, even though I managed to get in at the last-minute due to the public release of tickets only days before the actual performance, I managed to score good, unobstructed view seats in the front mezzanine (even brought a friend who until I told her I had a spare ticket, had given up all thought of going to see the show). The rest of my friends who had either won tickets through the sweepstakes or had purchased them as I had were scattered amongst the crowd. While you could tell there was an energy in the air from the start, when the lights went down and the audience roared with applause, you knew it was going to be a special night.

The gala began with a pre-show video projected onto a big screen on a mostly empty stage, which appeared to be much like the pre-show video that aired in movie theaters preceding the live simulcast of the London 25th Anniversary, but with some updates. There were “oohs” when Princess Diana appeared onscreen meeting the original cast and amused murmuring when a young Barbara Walters introduced a news piece on the Broadway premiere.

After the video, the prologue set was set up by stagehands dressed as… stagehands. The worker who came out first to set up the ghost light even got a round of applause like he was the concertmaster/first violinist at the symphony!

Special mention should be made that David Caddick was the conductor for all the evening performances during the run up to the anniversary performance and there was a certain extra “oomph” to the music that his direction brought.

Auctioneer’s (Carrington Vilmont) face reminded me of Saturday Night Live actor Will Forte. Right off the bat, that kinda killed it for me. His delivery was very dour, but with a business-like manner that still felt like a real auctioneer. It didn’t have the spooky, cryptic, grim reaper quality that I’m so used to now. You might say that it was… lacking. Heh heh heh… Heh heh…


Hey, gimme a break. I haven’t written a review in awhile, okay?

Michele McConnell’s Carlotta is very intense – her introduction carried a weight to it in how Carlotta’s Elissa seemed to have the same intense feelings about the Romans as the title character of the opera. It’s an approach to the part I’d not seen before and a fresh change of pace.

Then it was time to spot the ensemble member. Hey, there’s Kelly Jean Grant! Hey, there’s Elizabeth Welch! Kenneth Kantor’s Lefevre is fun to watch – he seems a bit different every time I see him. Opposite Carrington Vilmont’s Reyer, Kantor displays thinly-veiled contempt for the chief repetitieur. You’d think he’s more relieved to get away from Reyer than he is to get away from the Phantom. Piangi, played by Christian Sebek, had a nice voice, and played up comedy of Rome/Roma very much.

Jim Weitzer’s Andre is DC Anderson’s opera lover dialed up to eleven: full-blown opera fanboy. As he watched the rehearsals, he was like a kid in a candy store, practically giggling after nearly being hit by the Slave Master’s whip, appearing completely oblivious to Madame Giry’s confused/repulsed reaction when he kissed her hand, and not seeming to mind at all when Meg nearly kicked him in the groin. He was an excellent contrast to Tim Jerome’s Firmin, who was less of the all-business manager typically seen and more of an affable older man who was just out of his element (I felt he was sort of similar to Bruce Winant’s Firmin). Of particular note was his, “Two bars will be QUITE sufficient,” moment in how it was met by Andre shooing his hands at him (Quiet! Stop embarrassing me!) and countered by Firmin’s incredulous “What? What?” expression as he was shuffled off to the side.

Sierra Boggess’ entrance was met with applause – kinda like when I saw Clay Aiken in Spamalot a few years prior (Guess that’s just what happens when you cast a “name.” The night prior, her entrance was met with hushed murmurs of (OMG it’s HER!) delight from the fans sitting behind me). The best part of the rehearsal was when Piangi’s helmet slipped forward and covered up his eyes when he was atop the elephant. It was you might call a happy accident.

During Carlotta’s aira, Piangi (played by Christian Sebek) looked so enamored with Carlotta’s voice, the pride in his face and his eyes welling up with tears (“Oh, is so beautiful… Like Spring. Like Spring that is not yet even Spring. Like Spring that is about to become Spring…”) And when Carlotta flirted with Andre, Weitzer grinned widely, blushing like a schoolboy, which got a nice chuckle from the audience. His “These things do happen,” was also delivered in a slightly different way than I’m used to hearing. In this case, attempting to be comforting and logical/reasonable rather than trying to “laugh it off” to try to deflate the anxiety of the situation. McConnell’s Carlotta tantrum was very deliberate – no histrionics, less divaish – with each accusation clearly pointed out and directed to each manager. Also a nice change of pace from the norm.

Side note: You could tell Sebek was new to the show since he stormed out immediately after Carlotta, his “amateurs” line lost in the noise while the audience was still applauding Carlotta’s exit rather than waiting for his little moment.

Of final note in this scene, I really loved it when Reyer took the Princess by the hand and tried to introduce her to the managers as a potential understudy just before Giry vouched for Christine’s talent since makes the ensemble roles not just other characters populating the scene but more part of the larger tapestry of this world we’re seeing. And while I liked that Vilmont gave Boggess a VERY short look at the libretto, I was disappointed when Klein had no reaction to it when he went to stand next to her (for someone who is Christine’s best friend, you’d think Reyer’s rudeness would illicit some sort of reaction).

Think of Me:
Boggess has always had a lovely voice to listen to (her vibrato has a particular fluttering quality to it so I’ve dubbed her “Butterfly!Christine”), and she did not disappoint here. I did note that during the “scarf strut,” she deviated in the standard choreography a tad by turning her face more towards the audience – this was most probably due to the fact that the press was present and potentially photographing the scene. There was also applause all the way through to the reverse tabs scene, which I always love.

Angel of Music:
There’s something about Ellen Harvey’s Madame Giry. While she has good comic timing in her delivery of, “And you were a disgrace!” that many other Girys don’t seem to capitalize on, she’s very much the stern and starchy ballet mistress, and that seems to extend in her vocals. She seems to speak through gritted teeth, giving a sense of constant tension. Kinda like Dirty Harry.

Kara Klein (Meg) was really singing out – far more than I thought she was on previous nights – and that helped balance AoM opposite Boggess. And speaking of, Boggess is one of few Christines who, when changing out of her pointe shoes into her heels, isn’t obsessed with covering herself up and shows off her legs a bit. Yeah baby!

Little Lotte:
I liked a few of the things Barisich did here. First off, he was less formal and aristocratic than he as when I saw him on tour back in ’08. His delivery of, “Or of… chocolates?” as if he was searching his memory for the details was unique and gave it spontaneity.

Boggess, in turn, also sunk her acting chops into the scene, running the gamut of happiness at being reunited with a childhood friend to melancholy when thinking about her late father. It was a far cry from the old school “hyper” Christine she played in Las Vegas – time and training since then has refined her portrayal to a more old school Christine of the late 90s/00s.

The Mirror:
Panaro’s voice over introduction I this scene was loud and full of anger, a sharp contrast to the almost ethereal quality of his, “Bravi, bravi, bravissimi.” And it’s a bit nit-picking, but I also approved of how Panaro (in old school Phantom style) faced directly forward when revealed in the mirror. It seems like a minor detail, but the fact that when facing forward the light only illuminates the good side of the character’s face and leaves the mask in shadow is a significant point.

Barisich’s “Whose is that voice? Who is that in there?” unfortunately, was flat and conveyed no inherent concern or alarm.

The Phantom of the Opera:
Having so often sat in the front row in Las Vegas, I had forgotten how beautiful this scene looks when you have a greater view of the entire stage (particularly during this trip, when much of the mist was wafting straight up as it reached the edge of the stage and obscured the candles and the entrance of the boat when you were sitting in the front orchestra.

Boggess’ prerecorded vocals sounded very throaty (maybe she caught Barisich’s cold or whatever bug he had) which differed from the way she sounded the rest of the evening. Despite this, it was a good number and Panaro and her vocals mixed well. Boggess also acted as if the final note of her cadenza had been torn from her throat – eyes wide in surprise – a nice expression of how the Phantom has a Svengali-like control over her voice.

The Music of the Night:
Panaro portrayed a Phantom at the height of his power and control over Christine. His voice was serpentine – seductive, teasing, winding itself around you – giving the scene a seductive quality that made up for his lack of grand gesturing (Panaro seems to be of the Phantom type that is more internalized).

Except for that portcullis sprawl crotch thrust. What was up with that?

Other highlights of Panaro’s interpretation were the way he crooned of the word, “belong” in the lyric, “Only then, can you belong to me,” into Christine’s ear before striking the signature pose and how he practically draped himself along the side of the mirror after revealing the mirror bride to Christine. Boggess’ Christine was more intrigued and curious than surprised by the mannequin (a bit of a departure from most Christines when they see it) and overall her take on the scene was, as I’d said before, more a 90s/00s Christine in that she was half-mesmerized, half-aware, but leaning more towards the compliant side. The scene ended with much-deserved applause before Panaro finished his final note.

Stranger than You Dreamt It:
I remember back in the olden days when the Phantom’s deformity was a highly-kept secret, back when Phantom actors weren’t even allowed to have photos taken in the makeup. Things seemed to have changed in the past few years and actors haven’t been covering it up from audiences in this early scene. That was never exemplified more than now when Panaro was unmasked. The timing (from the actual unmasking to the surprise on the Phantom’s face to the length of time it took for him to round on Christine) seemed to be straight out of the Lon Chaney 1925 film – the audience got a REAL good look at the Phantom’s unmasked face. It’s a nice throwback to Phantoms of yore, but isn’t it better to save it for the climax?

Panaro made a good show of it, actually lunging at Christine from the organ and falling to the floor before chasing her around the lair and projecting the proper amount of angst for the scene. Boggess also showed the right amount of fear and carried it over to the point where she handed the Phantom back his mask.

Magical Lasso:
Anyone ever watch this scene with Buquet displaying his defense against the Punjab lasso and the ballerinas applauding and think it looked like some bizarre late-night infomercial?

Notes I/Prima Donna:
Jerome took lighthearted Firmin pretty far in the beginning of this scene in which he was laughing to himself as he read the newspaper headlines and then tossed them in the air. And he did so while he was in his shirtsleeves! It only took 25 years for another Firmin to do so! By contrast, Weitzer played Andre as being the frustrated one of the two, the beginning of the first-ever arc for the character I’ve seen in which he became more and more unraveled as this business ventured continued to spiral out of his control, behaving more harried as the problems piled up.

Also worthy of note during “Prima Donna” were Jerome’s limp flailing arms during his “We need you too!” line, showing his complete lack of enthusiasm for placating to performer-types,; and McConnell’s more serious approach to her character as a professional trying to deal with to many demands, disasters, managers who can’t seem to keep order, and a young upstart rival threatening to take her position as star of the opera. Klein’s Meg did all her usual choreography but in general just blended into the background. But maybe I’m just spoiled on really exceptional Megs.

The actors were in top form vocally and got a great deal of applause as they concluded the song (something that was repeated at each performance I saw that weekend).

Il Muto:
Again, Vegas had conditioned me to look in certain spots at the start of the scene. The fops were good (the Confidante even gave a little extra laughter upon her entrance) and as they settled in on the side of the stage beneath box five, Raoul was totally trying to sneak a peek down Meg’s top! How scandalous! If he’d been using his opera glasses he’d have looked like… well, he’d have looked a lot like me, actually.

<hangs head in shame>

Boggess’ Serafimo @ss volcano was practically nonexistent. Rather than kneeling on the bed, she did as she had on the London 25th and stood while leaning over and dusting. It was all very windshield wiper-ish (C’mon Sierra! Holden gave great @ss volcano, so I know it’s not a Colorado thing!). On the plus side, Boggess threw in a nice torso shimmy hen she and McConnell took their places downstage to do their big revelation bit, so it wasn’t a total write-off.

Panaro was very sarcastic and mocking in his running commentary high above the stage, and he had a pretty decent laugh, too. Again, McConnell played the scene with more seriousness and realism – her Carlotta fraying at the edges and having a nervous breakdown onstage.

Weitzer’s intro of the ballet was fantastic – really milking the comedy for all it was worth: the panicked entrance, the desperate fumbling through the programme, the forced cheerfulness and smile in announcing the ballet, the long awkward pause before squeaking out, “Now!” and the huge sigh of relief when the music began –

CUTE BALLERINA ALERT! Blonde/pink wig at twelve o’clock!

Sorry, got a bit distracted for a moment. Anyway, it took 25 years, but apparently rigor mortis finally set in on the Buquet dummy because it dropped like a stone from the flies and didn’t bounce back up like a drunk guy who put the bungee cord on the wrong end of his body. And while I love the fact that the Broadway production has remained unchanged since it opened, I still say I wouldn’t mind seeing the Vegas hanging be incorporated into the production.

All I Ask of You:
Barisich and Boggess’ voice over in the transition to the rooftop scene was devoid of any alarm and made the shift in emotional intensity very drastic when they began, “Why Have You Brought Us Here…” And when I say, “drastic,” I mean it was like reading a scripted speech at a press conference to shoving Raoul so hard that I thought Christine was going to follow it up with a right hook.

In general, I thought Boggess carried the scene, but I just didn’t feel a connection between Christine and Raoul. Barisich sounded out of breath throughout the entire song and didn’t project the warmth and affection necessary to really sell the romance between the two.

AIAoY Reprise:
Ah, the old fashioned hand entrance – I haven’t seen that in some time. It really makes for a great reveal (you often hear the audience murmur with a sort of, “oh no…” feeling when they see him emerge from the Angel). Panaro’s reprise was mournful but framed in a confusion like the Pahntom couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. It was a fresh take and I rather liked the acting choice

And the chandelier fell soooooooooooooooooooooo slowly to bring Act I to an end.

Free champagne at the bar (not that I had any)! Also, no new 25th Anniversary souvenir brochures available for sale. Boo.

Again, Vegas brainwashing had me looking for the managers in the wrong spots. And WOW was Andre ever proud of his costume.

You know, as much as I go on and on about how much I love the Las Vegas production, there were some things I really missed. And one of those is the long-form version of Masquerade. The costumes, the dancing, the music – it’s all such a joy to watch. There was a huge amount of applause when the cast gathered on the staircase and began the final verse and hearing those walls of sound colliding was really awe-inspiring.

Giry's Confession:
Harvey’s approach to this scene was a letdown for me since she played it as more reluctant than fearful of telling what she knew. You’d think that someone who knows what happens to people who spill the Phantom’s secrets would be at least a little afraid of doing so, and not seeing that crack in Giry’s façade made her seem more of a one-note character this time around.

Notes II:
It was clear that the managers had lost all control of their business at this point and the tension between all the characters was high throughout the first half of the scene. The Carlotta/Christine confrontation was great to see again, and Piangi’s snickering behind Carlotta when she said Christine wasn’t skilled enough to play the leading female role brought forth mental images of Salacious Crumb.

As the actors did their Phantom voice-over choreography, I loved the fact that Barisich was the only one who didn’t seem to be controlled by the Phantom – the entire time it looked like he was assessing the situation in his head and putting together his ingenious plan.

Twisted Every Way:
“Twisted” is another acting opportunity for Christines and I felt that Boggess played it a bit too controlled. I usually prefer it when they are clinging to Raoul as a final lifeline and then when he still tries to get her to go along with their plan, it leaves her feeling abandoned and vulnerable.

Don Juan Rehearsal:
Klein did something nice here – when Christine sat down next to her, Meg took her hand and squeezed it to show her friend support and shared a look of sympathy. Good on you, Kara, for giving your Meg some character depth! Sebeck also made obvious the difference in how Piangi was singing his note and how Reyer was correcting him – something very much appreciated because the subtlety of the actual difference has always been lost on me. The cast also played up the humor of possibly being watched by the Phantom more than usual by looking around with wide-eyed, fearful looks.

Oh, and the laughing chorus member sitting next to Carlotta looked like comedian Bill Engvall.

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again:
I’d say “Wishing” is probably Boggess’ signature song and she brought a great deal to the table here in terms of both acting and singing. She went a little over-the-top in the final verse, bending forward with such intense emotion, but it looked to me like she was gonna hurl. Overall, I think she was better balanced in the London 25th, but I’m not going to criticize too harshly any Christine who brings it to this key scene in the character’s arc.

Wandering Child:
I liked what Boggess did at the beginning of the scene in which her reaction to the Phantom’s voice was sorrow intermingled with hope. It was as if she was saying to herself, “Oh please, please… let it be my father, let it be my angel. Don’t be a lie this time.” And yay for no zombie!Christine arms! Reaching out with one hand is much more elegant and apropos.

It is widely known in the phandom that Panaro based his performance as the title character on Susan Kay’s novel in which Erik displays a rather superior attitude towards the rest of humanity. This was quite apparent with his very mocking yet aggressive confrontation with Raoul. But thankfully it was more restrained and less arrogant than the last time I’d seen him back in ’03. It’s a tough balance to play – if you lean too far to the arrogant side you wind up with the David Staller Phantom – but Panaro straddled the line well.

Before the Premiere:
Panaro’s characterization carried over to his scene as well in how he treated the gendarmes and the firm of Andre, Firmin & de Chagny (word of advice: if you’re ever in need of a crack security squad, don’t call them. Seal Team 6 they ain’t!) – the aggression in his voice rose and rose until the Marksman took his shot. It’s also cool to be sitting close to a speaker so that you can hear the Phantom’s voice swinging around you as it moves around the auditorium.

Don Juan Triumphant:
Step right up! Kelly Jean Grant’s dealing out shots from atop the table like she’s working at Coyote Ugly! And I loved how Jeremy Stolle started to follow Meg out until called back by Piangi – finally a Passarino worthy of being Don Juan’s manservant!

Point of No Return:
Nice to hear the Phantom using the Italian accent. Anything that helps smooth over the massive plot holes in this scene is welcome.

Oh, Sierra. You may be ALW and CamMac’s darling, but you fail utterly when it comes to apple!ponr. Giving essentially the same performance as in the London 25th, just as her overall interpretation hearkened back to Old School Christine, so did her PoNR. No apple!ponr, no leg on bench, just a sassy swish of her skirt and posing against the edge of the table. That’s it. Fail! Complete and utter FAIL!!!

The chaos after the second unmasking and the great escape lacked a sense of… chaos. It was something that (wait for it) the Vegas production had in abundance. Of course, they did have the free-falling chandelier to serve as a great distraction, but regardless, the energy wasn’t up in that scene.

Plus I really miss a good Meg scream.

Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer:
Not really much to say here, except that Panaro’s vocals conveyed the rise of the character’s darker nature coming forth and Boggess didn’t appear to use the scene to convey Christine’s feelings at the moment or react to the sound of the mob coming after them.

Final Lair:
What a great Final Lair. Boggess really played Christine with a backbone (which as the best kind of Christine, in my opinion) straight out of the gate. Panaro also played the nuances of the Phantom, whose emotions are all over the place in the scene. His delivery of, “This FACE! The infection… that poisons our love…” went from self-hate to gentle yearning and moments later he’d seem to be barely in control of his emotions, yet it all felt honest.

Panaro was very sarcastic and condescending towards Raoul, but unfortunately, Barisich wasn’t giving back much in his performance in terms of emotional heat. Once Raoul was in the noose, Panaro’s Phantom really ratcheted it up to eleven in bringing forth the immature, childish side of the character, even stomping his feet in time as he sang, “This is the choice!” It’s a risky move, but Crawford evoked the same irrational nature in his Phantom through the use of his hands in that same moment. Boggess’ response was equally strong and as she spit out her lines, Panaro cringed as if he was a child being scolded. Boggess got bodily between Raoul and the Phantom with ferocity, the look in her eyes saying, “Don’t you DARE touch him!” (this is another element of the original that I prefer over the Vegas production. The danger feels much more palpable when Raoul isn’t completely isolated and therefore very vulnerable to whatever the Phantom wants to do.). The emotions ran high throughout the rest of the scene until Christine was kneeling at the Phantom’s throne pleading to her former maestro. Panaro’s final ultimatum: “You. Try… my patience,” was spoken with the wrath of God barely kept in check. Then turning his back to her he said, “Make your choice,” so coldly. It was a pitch-perfect delivery of the character at his darkest moment. And when Christine kissed him and the music swelled, it was as if Kay’s prose was brought to life on that stage:

Deeper and deeper she swam down into that embrace, pulling me like a lost pearl from the sucking mud of the ocean bed, dragging me relentlessly back up with her into the searing light of day. She kicked away the crutches of hate that had sustained me for so long and made me stand with helpless wonder while her hands once more sought my face and drew it down to hers.

[…] It was finished then, of course… that kiss ended everything.

The moment I knew she was mine – truly mine – I knew that I could not kill that wretched boy.
But despite that last line, that moment when the Phantom approaches Raoul with the candle was still played with tension. It’s one of my favorite bits in the scene, especially when Christine is acting as the surrogate for the audience in that she’s not exactly sure what the Phantom will do. And when he frees Raoul and begins rambling, telling them to leave, Panaro’s delivery projected that feeling you get when your so overwhelmed with emotion that it feels like a pain welling up in your chest, making it harder to breathe, but it continues to grow relentlessly until his voice rose and ended in a wail, “Go! Now! And LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!”

He never even made it to the last word.

The ring return and Christine’s departure was, thank heaven, devoid of any shades of LND/London 25th in Boggess’ interpretation. Panaro’s whispering, “My angel…” into the veil was a wonderful touch, and his final lines were sung with such great emotion that the audience burst into applause before he had finished the money note. Finally, when Klein removed the cloak to reveal the Phantom was gone, the audience erupted in thunderous applause as the spotlight faded out on the iconic mask.

Curtain Call and Encore:
There were numerous standing ovations for the cast and for Hal Prince and Cameron Mackintosh as they came out following Panaro’s bows. Prince and Mackintosh spoke, thanking the cast, the orchestra and CamMac giving great props to Prince for his career. He also thanked Andrew Lloyd Webber (who was unable to be there due to recent back surgery), and the late Maria Björnson. Mackintosh also read a message from Gillian Lynne (who was unable to appear due to her running a tech rehearsal for her new show in London that night), introduced Andrew Bridge (the original lighting designer) and Prince read a message from Michael Crawford (who was also unable to attend).

Their speeches were followed by a video message from Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman, who appeared onstage immediately after to give her own speech. Prince then brought the stage management, hair and makeup out onto the stage, gave a round of applause to the pit orchestra (making special note that there were 28 of them), and gave the stats” speech: informing us that 39 employees had been with the show since the very beginning, “Phantom” is the largest single generator of income and jobs on Broadway in US theatrical history (over 375 actors have appeared in the New York production), and asked the alumni in the audience (including members of the original Broadway cast) to stand and take a bow.

After the speeches, we were treated to a reprise of the PotO quintet, this time featuring John Owen Jones, Peter Joback, Ramin Karimloo, Hugh Panaro, and Sierra Boggess (each announced by name like they were star athletes taking to the field), with the alumni in the audience singing the background chorus. This segued into the MotN quartet (with the entire company joining them to sing the “Softly, deftly” verse), Panaro singing “You alone can make our song take flight” to Prince, and the entire company joining voices to sing the final line.

Taking their final bows amidst our endless applause, the chandelier dropped halfway and the confetti cannons went off, showering the auditorium in gold streamers.

Since my friends and I were scattered all over the theatre and didn’t have a set plan on when and where to gather in order to make our way to the restaurant for a post-show dinner, some of us loitered in the lobby and apparently half the audience had the same idea. A few of us found each other pretty quickly, and as I scanned the crowd for other faces, I spotted a number of Phantom alumni milling about. I even turned around to come face-to-face with Davis Gaines (whom I’d met previously several years ago at a concert he did in San Francisco with Lisa Vroman).

Eventually, we were sent out into the cold and toughed it out in front of the theatre in the hopes of the others eventually finding their way to us so we could take a group photo. He Phantom celebs were also sent out with us, so there was a chance for lots of us to talk and take photos with many of them before they headed off to the after-party. I myself ran into Sandra Joseph when she popped her head out of one of the side doors I was standing in front of in search of her husband, Ron Bohmer. We had a quick hug and hello then headed back in to find him. I also spotted Joelle Gates peek out the same door and then dart back inside (I think a lot of these ladies were in search of their companions who apparently had their coats and did I mention it was frikkin’ FREEZING outside?). When the lot of us couldn’t stand the cold any longer, we gathered what phans we had and took a pic in front of one of the big banners celebrating the show’s anniversary. Then it was a quick dash back to the hotel to warm up a bit before heading off for one last phan dinner together and the end of another big phan gathering.

Even though I was sick for the entirety of the trip, I still had a blast hanging out with all my phan friends. And while it wasn’t my dream cast, the show was still fantastic and has passed the test of time with flying colors. Congratulations Broadway company on your silver anniversary, and here’s to other 25 fantastic years!


Last edited by Raphael on Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:41 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added Act 2 and made a few additional comments to Act 1)

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PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala Empty Re: PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala

Post  StrangerThanUDreamt Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:38 am

Fantastically detailed, and very on point with my own views

The auction scene lacking something...haha indeed it was

I've seen the show 7 times now, and while I know what the deformity looks like I too was very disappointed/shocked that Hugh pretty much exposed the deformity so early in the show during STYDI, I let out an audible "what!?" in which I forgot I was surrounded by others. I just felt the mystery of the big reveal during Don Juan was robbed short by this choice of Hugh's.

Right on point about Barisich and Boggess in AIAoY, I just felt no connection between the two in terms of a real romance; I will take that a step further and say MoTN felt the same way to me...just little to no connection between Hugh and Sierra. I think as individuals this cast has some amazingly strong leads, but seeing the tense and steamy dynamic between Sam Hill and Greg Mills aka 'Hills' just left a lot to be desired (for me) from the Hugh/Sierra/Kyle trio.

I also wanted more from Hugh in the AIAoY reprise, more pain, more anger, just more something...


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Post  LadyCDaae Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:13 am

Good start to the review. For as often as I've seen this show (which admittedly, isn't as often as a lot of people here), I do tend to miss a lot of the background stuff (I actually made a point of watching the Degas girls during AoM that weekend, because I was thinking "I've been seeing this show for HOW many years and I've never really watched that dance?"). I did notice the bit with Reyer and the Princess though, which I thought was pretty cool. I also got a distinct "Well crap, there goes MY chance of getting out of the chorus" feel from her once Christine started hitting her stride.

I absolutely adored Ellen Harvey's "You were a disgrace tonight!" Very Maggie Smith.



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PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala Empty Re: PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala

Post  NightRachel Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:48 pm

Thanks, Raphael, for sharing the first half of your wonderfully detailed review of the gala performance! And like you, though I also got a ticket through the last-minute public sale, I had a very good seat in the front mezz section (more toward the left side) so I had a good view of everything on stage.
Looking forward to reading the rest of your review. Smile

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PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala Empty Re: PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala

Post  Raphael Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:42 pm

Review's complete. Makes a good cure for insomnia, too!


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PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala Empty Re: PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala

Post  LadyCDaae Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:08 pm

After the speeches, we were treated to a reprise of the PotO quintet, this time featuring John Owen Jones, Peter Joback, Ramin Karimloo, Hugh Panaro, and Sierra Boggess (each announced by name like they were star athletes taking to the field)

Oh good, I wasn't the only one who got that impression. I expected the announcer to start busting out his inner Michael Buffer. ("Your Phantom for this evening, weighing in at one hundred fifty-three pounds...HUGH! PANAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!")



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PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala Empty Re: PotO Broadway: Panaro/Boggess/Barisich - 26 January 2013: The 25th Anniversary Gala

Post  NightRachel Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:57 pm

Wonderful conclusion to your review, Raphael -- thanks so much once again for sharing! Smile So sorry to hear you were sick the whole time though -- that's lousy.
But now I know what the group of you did after the performance ended and everyone was leaving the theater. Sorry I couldn't join you all, but I had to run to catch a bus back home. One very big mistake I made for that weekend was not getting a hotel room at the Milford -- I very much regret it, b/c if I had then I would've been able to spend more time with you all. Oh well, live and learn. I'll know better for next time. Smile

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