Theatre Review: Phantom of the Opera Live at the Pantages

Garon CockrellMiscellaneous, Reviews, Theatre, Theatre ReviewLeave a Comment

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Cameron Mackintosh’s Spectacular New Production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Now through August 2, 2015
Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Hollywood, CA
http://www.hollywoodpantages.com/phantom-of-the-opera

Years ago, when I was a kid, I stumbled across a CD of my mom’s. It was a collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs. Of course, that meant little to nothing to me. I didn’t know who he was and at that age I guess I didn’t really care. I just liked the songs. A few songs in particular stuck with me, pretty much ever since. One was Another Suitcase In Another Hall, which has no relevance here. The other three though have definite relevance: All I Ask of You, The Music of the Night, and The Phantom of the Opera. Until now, those songs were just at home on my iPod or in my head. I’d never seen them performed in the context of the show. I’d never seen it live, and aside from the Robert Englund horror version, I’d never even seen the movies.

That all changed this past week as years of loving these songs finally culminated in seeing the Phantom in the flesh and for the most part, it was worth the wait.

You know the story by now considering it’s one of, if not the most, famous musicals there is but I’ll give you a brief run down. Phantom loves Christine and does whatever he can to make her a star, including terrorizing the theatre he considers his own. That paints the story with an extremely broad brush but you get the gist of it.

I’m not the most experienced when it comes to musicals. I’ve seen a few and I have really really come to love the format to the point that I get excited for every show I go to, big or small, but I wasn’t quite expecting to be as blown away by a set as I was with this one. It was pretty incredible. Every piece of it moved and shifted, stairs appeared and disappeared, rooms opened, cemetery’s appeared out of thin air. It was magical. It was exactly what you want from a grand spectacle of a show like Phantom and it must have been a joy to play on as a member of this cast.

Speaking of the cast: well done. Everyone did a phenomenal job with the material. Big voices, big personalities, big talent all around. It’s been a good  20 odd years of waiting to see these songs performed live and I couldn’t have been happier with the versions I saw.

And what about the music? I’d heard that this production would be a little different so I was a little nervous if that meant that the songs would be changed in some way. I’m happy to say they sounded great. That electric guitary synthy sound of Phantom of the Opera is intact and sounds amazing. I love love love that song and was ready to jump out of my seat when it started.

There really is only one part of the show I was a little iffy on and that is one of the shadow effects they use. It just didn’t work for me the first time it was done. It felt too artificial. They do it again later in the show and that time it was okay. Maybe the lighting is off in that initial shadow phantom use. I don’t know but if that’s the only thing I can point out as a negative then I think you’re in good shape.

This version of Phantom moves at a great pace. I was never bored, I devoured every moment. The music, the performances, the set, all spectacular. This classic musical is back and better than ever. It’s a great way to experience the Phantom for long time fans or for the first time. The classic songs you know and love are in great hands and sound amazing.

Family friendly, exciting for all ages, and a wonderful night of musical theatre are just a few reasons to get yourself to the Pantages to check out this show. You have until August 2 to fall in love with these amazing songs once again. You won’t be disappointed.

Phantom of the Opera runs now through August 2 at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.

 

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Garon CockrellTheatre Review: Phantom of the Opera Live at the Pantages