Review: The Phantom of the Opera

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Whether it's your first "Phantom" experience or your umpteenth, this touring production in Nashville March 9 - 20 delivers a spectacular night of live musical theater for your whole family.

The Phantom of the Opera (March 9 – 20; Ages 8 & older)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
615-782-4040 • tpac.org
Show times: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 & 8 p.m., Sun 1 & 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $70 – $110

The longest running show in Broadway’s history is also the most successful commercial entertainment event to date with worldwide box office sales of more than $5.6 billion! It’s also the hot ticket in town right now at TPAC’s Jackson Hall with limited seats available during the remainder of its Music City stop — Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash musical, The Phantom of the Opera.

Phantom first opened on London’s West End in 1986 and on Broadway in 1988 winning seven Tony Awards for Best Musical; Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Michael Crawford who originated the Phantom role); Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Judy Kate); Best Direction of a Musical; Best Scenic Design; Best Costume Design; and Best Lighting Design.

Aside from writing the music (with lyricist Charles Hart), Lloyd Webber also co-wrote the book with Richard Stilgoe. The Phantom of the Opera is based on Gaston Leroux’s French novel Le Fantome de l’Opera. In case you’re not familiar with the central storyline, the plot revolves around a love triangle involving a mysterious, disfigured musical genius (the Phantom) and his obsession with a beautiful young opera singer whom he’s been training (Christine) who in turn is in love with her childhood friend and suitor (Raoul, deftly played by Storm Lineberger).

This spectacular production of The Phantom of the Opera comes with new elements, primarily in regard to Paul Brown’s scenic design and a re-imagining of the show’s staging. A giant cylinder is the focal structure, continually revolving on the stage to reveal different sets including the opera house’s backstage, the manager’s office, and most notably the Phantom’s subterranean, creepy “man cave” located deep below the Paris Opera House. One of the most visually stunning elements of the cylindrical set is when it acts as the passageway to the Phantom’s underground lair as steps magically protrude from its surface as the fog rises from the underground lake below. This version also includes lots of new pyrotechnics, including large pillars of fire bursting from the stage floor; the effect is quite intense, especially if you’re sitting within the first few rows of the stage on the orchestra level — if you’re sitting close, prepare to shield your eyes due to the brightness of the flames.

Lloyd Webber’s robust musical backdrop sounds better than ever thanks to the 14-piece live orchestra backing the incredibly talented cast members who possess phenomenal vocal prowess across the board. Jacquelynne Fontaine as Carlotta sets the stage for dynamic vocals at the beginning of Act I as she belts through “Think of Me” during the dress rehearsal scene.

Katie Travis, as Christine, delivers many goose-bump-inspiring moments with her unbelievably impressive vocal range evident in numbers like “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” and “The Point of No Return.” Likewise, Chris Mann’s delivery of the Phantom is remarkable and memorable, especially in his rendition of the show’s signature song, “The Music of the Night.”

Maria Bjornson’s exquisite costumes hold true to Phantom’s original production adding lots of color and pizzazz to the stage throughout the show, with a particular nod to the second act’s opening number, “Masquerade/Why So Silent?”

This production of The Phantom of the Opera exceeds the expectations set by all of the buzz about the tour. It’s a grand night of musical theater that your whole family will enjoy — whether it’s your first Phantom experience or your umpteenth!

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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